Archive for October, 2012

HCAHPS Positively Impacted by Employee Buy-in

Posted on October 26, 2012. Filed under: HCAHPS, Post By Christy Whipple |

Employee Engagement and Communication (“buy-in”) Positively Impacts Patient Satisfaction and HCAHPS Scores
Christy Whipple
Team of Doctors

Effectively sharing and gaining buy-in to the organization’s vision is a critical responsibility of a hospital CEO and the executive staff. Organizing efforts to promote a shared vision helps unite everyone around common goals and prevents disengagement – which can lead to substandard care. After reviewing their HCAHPS scores, the team at St. Anthony Medical Center in Frisco, Colorado, conducted a thorough assessment, and found that many of their issues could be improved with better communication.  The comprised a team of directors and staff to brainstorm improvement strategies. They agreed to focus on patient discharge procedures to positively impact their current struggles.

The team worked together to develop a plan before presenting the ideas to the staff at-large. According to the St. Anthony’s team, commitment and buy-in from all staff is essential, because everyone will likely have a role in the process. The inpatient units all worked together and everyone was involved in some way to move the plan forward. The team’s strategy to improve the discharge process was to reach out to admitted patients to answer questions, make sure they were comfortable with going home, and that they understood the information and instructions they received from the discharge nurse. Before leaving, patients also received carefully developed packet of information including a list of medications and instructions for following up with the doctor. As a result, St. Anthony’s efforts have helped greatly improve HCAHPS scores. Based on these scores and feedback, the patients seem to appreciate the changes that have been made to the discharge process. That reflects positively on their entire stay and on patient experience.

Regarding their success, Margaret Breslin, director of acute care for St. Anthony’s says, “We all came together to discuss the discharge process and how to address the challenges. We did research, read articles, and talked to our peers… When developing our plan, we made sure to involve the bedside nurses and technicians in the decision-making process.”Making the vision ‘real’ to employees is critical for gaining buy-in. Every employee has to feel a connection to the mission and vision. Each employee has to see how their role is a key component of the execution of the organization’s strategic goals.

When asked how this experience has changed the organization, the hospital team responded, “We own it. It is staff supported, management supported, and we are all in it together. We are committed to improving as a team.”

 

To learn more about employee buy-in and/or improving your hospital’s admissions and discharge processes with little to no additional out of pocket expense – please contact us today to schedule our educational webinar.

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HCAHPS: More Than Patient Satisfation

Posted on October 25, 2012. Filed under: HCAHPS, Patient Experience, Post By Christy Whipple |

HCAHPS reflect both of the quality of care and the level of patient satisfaction
Christy Whipple

“HCAHPS results are playing an increasingly larger role in the financial well-being of America’s hospitals,” according to a recent article in Becker’s Hospital Review. Beginning in its fiscal year 2013, HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) will become a system based on ‘pay-for-performance.’ This new program will reward and penalize hospitals for performance on certain metrics.

Thirty percent of each hospital’s total performance score will be based on patient experience while the other seventy percent will be based on other core measures. Quint Studer, founder and CEO of Studer Group, states that HCAHPS results and quality are “actually two sides of the same coin.”

Mr. Studer claims that the HCAHPS reflect both of the quality of care and the level of patient satisfaction. HCAHPS measure patient perception of quality, but also many of the results link to actual quality. The growing importance of the HCAHPS has many hospitals scrambling to identify ways to improve patient experience. According to Studer, improving scores is as simple as providing better communication.

According to an article by the Department of Health and Human Services, data shows that “patients receiving clear discharge instructions are often the same patients who are most satisfied with their hospital.” Alternately, patients who are unclear about their medications or discharge are often dissatisfied with their care as a whole. 

Hospitals need to communicate more effectively with their patients. While it appears that only a portion of  HCAHPS deal with communication, the reality is, with closer analysis, the entire survey measures communication quality.

 

Introcomm’s admissions and discharge solutions have a moderate to high impact on more than 88% of the topics covered in the patient experience portion of the HCAHPS survey. If you would like to learn more about improving your HCAHPS scores and how Introcomm can help – with little to no additional out of pocket expense – please contact us today.

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Shared decision making leads to a better patient experience and higher levels of patient satisfaction

Posted on October 10, 2012. Filed under: Patient Experience, Post By Christy Whipple |

Shared decision making can reduce treatment disagreements, lead to more realistic expectations, reduce clinically unwarranted treatments, and potentially reduce litigation.
Christy Whipple

At Introcomm, we encourage hospitals to educate their patients, communicate with them and to engage. The embodiment of these principles is found in shared decision making. Shared decision making is the belief that patients and their clinicians can make equally valuable contributions when reaching a moment of truth in the patient’s healthcare.

While clinicians have medical knowledge and experience, patients know what they want from their treatment as well as which rehabilitation programs they are most likely to follow. Patients can be guided to work through any questions they may have, explore the options available, and take a treatment route which best suits their needs and expectations.

Shared decision making can reduce treatment disagreements, lead to more realistic expectations, reduce clinically unwarranted treatments, and potentially reduce litigation. Importantly, patients are more likely to continue on a course of action or treatment when they have chosen it, rather than a treatment that had been imposed upon them. Surveys have also shown that shared decision making leads to a better patient experience and higher levels of patient satisfaction.

Recent research shows that close to 70% of patients questioned preferred to be involved in medical decisions with their doctors. However, only 1 in 7 would actually disagree with their doctor over treatment. Most patients admitted that though they prefer to be involved, it would not be socially acceptable to challenge their doctor’s advice. Others stated that disagreeing with their physician would damage the relationship.

This idea of shared decision making isn’t exactly a brand new concept. In fact, in the UK, the National Health Foundation recently implemented a program distributing informational posters, leaflets, film clips and animation to encourage patients to get clear answers from their clinicians by asking three questions: “what are my options, what are the pros and cons of each option, and how do I get support to help me make a decision that is right for me?” Early indicators are promising. 80% of clinicians surveyed said that they felt receptive and were likely to implement shared decision making with their patients.

As stated by the Health Foundation, patients “need to be able to choose which dance they want, know the steps needed and be able to hear the music”. As shared decision making programs are implemented, it is hopeful that all parties will soon be dancing to the same tune.

To learn more contact us to schedule your complimentary, educational webinar.

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Stats and Facts Regarding the Patient Experience

Posted on October 4, 2012. Filed under: Patient Experience, Post By Christy Whipple |

ImageChristy Whipple

In today’s competitive healthcare market, costs and competition are on the rise, while profits are falling. With healthcare reform identifying patient satisfaction survey ratings as focal criteria for reimbursement, the “Patient Experience” is a key factor to increasing profits.  How do patients define quality?  Our Research shows that 63% of patients believe quality is defined by how well they are treated in a hospital as opposed to the success of their treatment.  Quality Care creates loyal patients.  Hospitals with the most loyal patients have an 82% higher earning per adjusted patient day than those with the least loyal patients.  Building patient loyalty begins by identifying “Moments of Truth” and making those “Moments of Truth” count.  The admission process is one of the most important “Moments of Truth”.  By providing patients a comprehensive marketing piece during the admission process, this will instill confidence and provide reassurance and comfort at a key moment of fear and uncertainty.

Introcomm has more than 40-years’ experience in the healthcare industry. We’ve also invested in a market research study to help us immerse ourselves even further in the challenges facing today’s healthcare institutions. Our “Challenge Call” webinar provides an informational overview of what we have discovered – information that can be important to you, your marketing efforts, your hospital and your patients. We invite you to enroll in one of these free web conferences. It may be the most important 30 minutes you spend this year.

Click here to schedule your FREE webinar

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Is Your Hospital Staff Inspired to Provide a Great Patient Experience?

Posted on October 2, 2012. Filed under: Patient Experience, Post By Christy Whipple |

An inspired employee gives his or her all to their employer, and is constantly striving to be and do their best; to use their skills and talents to their full potential.
Christy Whipple

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“Inspired employees contribute to a positive work environment that can be seen and felt by patients… [it is] a necessary factor for a positive patient experience.”  According to Dr. James S. Compton, an internist with South St. Louis Medical Associates in Missouri.

Included in virtually every hospital’s mission statement is a phrase about the establishment’s dedication to provide quality care and service. This is a noble vision. But, let’s ask ourselves honestly; is our staff truly living and breathing that mission every single day? Chances are, even the most well intentioned mission gets lost somewhere within your staff’s exceedingly busy schedule and extremely long task list. It isn’t a unique situation. Most mission statements are not translated into action. Not only do employees not remember the mission statement, they aren’t really sure about what they are supposed to do to support it.

Fortunately, inspiration does not come simply from memorizing a static mission statement. It comes from a sense of commitment and enthusiasm. Are you yourself passionate about the mission and goals of your organization? If not, there’s very little chance you will be able to inspire anyone else. You may need to work on re-energizing your own commitment and enthusiasm about your career; to once again feel like you’re out to change the world.

Once you have effectively adjusted your ideas and goals regarding your hospital’s mission, articulate and share the mission (not just the words, but the purpose, goals, actions and metrics) of your hospital with the employees. This will give them a sense of belonging and a connection to the big picture. It is much more inspiring to share in a “mission” as opposed to just accomplishing tedious work tasks.

“Do happy employees make happy patients? Certainly they create more satisfied patients, certainly more loyal patients,” Judy Bee, a Medical Economics editorial consultant says. “And, when you have employees who will go the extra mile ‘just because,’ you’re going to have patients who wouldn’t think of going anywhere else.”

To learn more about initiatives that work, and the importance of employee involvement, contact us to schedule a complimentary webinar.

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