Archive for March, 2013

HCAHPS scores Closely Tied to Readmission Rates

Posted on March 28, 2013. Filed under: Admission & Discharge, Communication, HCAHPS, Patient Experience |

ImageWith Medicare payment penalties for excess readmissions now in effect, reducing readmissions has become a top priority for hospitals and other stakeholders. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) publicly reports risk-adjusted readmission rates for heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia. The data shows significant variation in performance across hospitals, indicating that some hospitals are more successful than others at addressing the causes of readmissions. A recent study by Press Ganey suggests that performance on readmission metrics is associated with performance on patient experience of care measures.

Press Ganey analyzed hospitals’ readmission penalty data in the context of their scores for CMS’ Hospital Inpatient Value-based Purchasing program (VBP) to determine if there was a relationship in performance on the two pay-for-performance programs. The VBP program establishes scores for both the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey results and process of care measures. The study found a demonstrated negative association between hospitals’ HCAHPS VBP scores and readmission penalties; as hospital performance on HCAHPS increased, readmission penalties decreased. Very low HCAHPS performance (scores of 0–19 was associated with much-higher-than-average readmission penalties, and very high HCAHPS performance (80–100) was associated with much-lower-than-average readmission penalties.

These findings support previous research on the link between patient experience and clinical quality found that higher overall patient satisfaction and satisfaction with discharge planning were associated with lower 30-day risk-standardized readmission rates. This current study seems to suggest, HCAHPS scores, not clinical measures, were more closely linked to readmission rates.

To effectively combat patient readmissions, hospitals can benefit from a foundational strategy that starts first and foremost with the patient – and efforts that are aimed at improving HCAHPS scores are an excellent initial step. The majority of the HCAHPS survey questions address communications between caregivers and patients. Effective communications is fundamental to ensuring that patients become engaged in their care and, consequently, better equipped to follow discharge instructions and self-monitor after leaving the acute care setting.

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Interactive Patient Care: The Latest in Patient Engagement

Posted on March 15, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Interactive Patient Care: The Latest in Patient Engagement.

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Interactive Patient Care: The Latest in Patient Engagement

Posted on March 15, 2013. Filed under: Communication, Patient Experience |

ImageAn increasing number of hospital executives and healthcare organizations are discovering that patient and family engagement is the key to the transformation of the healthcare delivery system. The Healthcare Advisory Board stated that patient engagement is one of the three pillars for healthcare transformation in its recent “Playbook for Accountable Care.” In 2008 NQF declared patient and family engagement as “one of the five National Health Priorities that will guide and shape healthcare transformation.” As a result, regulations and standards have been developed to include patient engagement as a core element.

There is a growing amount of data demonstrating that when patients become active participants in their care, they are more inclined and motivated to assume responsibility for managing their own health. Thus, the results are better outcomes for the patient, and lower costs and better performance for the hospital.

Over the past ten years, the healthcare industry has invested countless time and resources finding ways to deliver more patient-centered care.  Many different strategies have been tried and tested. Some strategies have proven successful, while others have not. Many of those efforts were focused on strategies around the patient. Many believe that In order to realize the benefit of patient engagement, healthcare facilities will have to change the way they deliver care: moving from a model where care is delivered to and around the patient to one in which the care is delivered with the patient.

There is an emerging care delivery model known as Interactive Patient Care (IPC). IPC is based on the premise that a more engaged patient is a satisfied patient with better outcomes. There is now ample evidence-based outcomes data associated with this innovative care delivery model that demonstrates patient engagement through IPC is a proven strategy for performance improvement.


For more information, or to take your healthcare organization to the next level of patient engagement, contact us,

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Healthcare 101: How HCAHPS Works

Posted on March 1, 2013. Filed under: Government and Healthcare, HCAHPS, Patient Experience, Post By Christy Whipple |

How HCAHPS Works 


ImageHCAHPS is part of Medicare’s value-based purchasing program, created as an effort to initiate reimbursement models that pay for a high quality of care rather than a high quantity of care. HCAHPS is a survey that measures patient satisfaction with the entire hospital experience.

Recently discharged patients are asked to answer 27 questions that are used to measure their perception of the quality of care they received in the hospital.

The HCAHPS survey includes seven key areas: responsiveness of hospital staff, nursing communication skills, physician communication skills, pain management, quietness and cleanliness, explanations about medications and discharge instructions. The survey is designed to allow objective and meaningful comparisons between hospitals in areas that are important to consumers. Results are published online and can be viewed by the public.

The data is used to determine reimbursement. Hospitals can gain or lose up to two percent of their Medicare reimbursement fees, depending on how well they score. A hospital that chooses not to participate in HCAHPS is automatically docked two percent.

HCAHPS survey data has been collected and tallied since October 2012. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began implementing value-based incentive payments for hospitals this year.


To learn more about HCAHPS and how Introcomm can help you raise your scores and lower the risk of reimbursement penalties, contact us

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