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TOP QUESTIONS YOU NEED TO ASK: How Will These 3 Questions Boost Your HCAHPS Score?

healthcare IT consultingWhat should you be asking your patients in order to increase satisfaction and raise HCAHPS scores?

It’s easy to assume that the only goal of a healthcare practice is to care for patients.

That’s part of it – but that’s not the beginning and end of healthcare.

While the primary goal is certainly to effectively treat patients, there’s a lot more to it. In order to be a truly successful practice, don’t you have to keep patients satisfied as well as healthy?

One problem: as you well know, the quality of care and patient satisfaction are not one and the same.

Unfortunately, the reality of the healthcare business is that, even if you accurately diagnose a problem and treat a patient’s ailments with globally accepted methods and medications, that may not be enough to ensure their total satisfaction.

What Are The Primary Factors Influencing Patient Satisfaction?

There are so many different, often imperceptible aspects of the patient experience that can affect how satisfied they are with their healthcare, beyond how effective the prescribed course of treatment really was.

These factors include…

  • Wait Times – How long are your patients waiting at reception? How long are they waiting in the emergency room? How long do they wait to get a healthcare professional’s attention after they’ve pushed the call button at their bed?  The answers to each and every one of these questions play a significant role in determining a given patient’s satisfaction.
  • Hospital Environment – To the average patient, does the space in which they receive care seem overly cluttered? Is there a – albeit, understandable, but still affecting – feeling of stress in the way the staff conducts themselves around patients? Is it simply too loud for patients to get much-needed rest while staying on premises? Every characteristic of a healthcare practice’s environment can go a long way to affect patient satisfaction as well.
  • Redundancy – With so many moving parts in a given healthcare practice, have you considered the possibility of redundancies in your communication practices? While they can, admittedly, go a long way to ensuring nothing is overlooked, think about it from the patient’s point of view for a moment. How satisfied will they be with their experience when they have to explain their situation to the ninth doctor or nurse in as many days?

These are just a few of what are likely many more factors that take part in a patient’s satisfaction. While your primary goal is and will always be keeping your patients healthy, you need to consider their satisfaction as well – as if it’s all a part of the customer experience.

By thinking carefully about the experience you and your staff create for the patients you treat, you can improve it, along with your HCAHPS scores as well.

That said, simply being aware of patient experiences and resulting satisfaction isn’t enough – how do you go about tracking and improving?

Ask And You Shall Receive: These Are The Questions You Need To Be Asking Patients

Improving the experience in your healthcare practice comes down to what you know. If you don’t actually know what the experience your patients are having actually is, then you need to start asking about it.

Remember – there are no stupid questions. If you’re worried about an aspect of your practice’s patient environment, then start surveying patients to see what it’s like on their end.

A good place to start is with these key questions:

  • How Long Do You Typically Have To Wait?

A big part of this question is in recognizing that none of your patients will actually be timing response with a stopwatch. While some may be surer of how long they wait in the Emergency Room, you’ll get less exact figures for when it comes to how long they wait for a response after pushing the call button.

This question is more about finding out how satisfied they are with how long they typically have to wait. If you’re not getting the answers you want, then you know there’s something that needs to change.

  • How Was Your Experience?

Here’s where you find out how your practice environment affected their experience. Ask for (or give) examples of different disruptions that may have negatively affected their mood while in your care. Was it too loud? Was it too busy? Was the staff demeanor too terse or stressed?

  • How Effective Did You Find Communication With Your Caregivers?

Again, ask for examples to back up their experience. Did they have to repeat themselves, did they have to ask the same question multiple times to get an answer, etc. While somewhat unavoidable, by at least gathering this data, you can ensure you have a better understanding of how your patients feel.

Key Strategies For Improving HCAHPS Scores

Once you have the data, then you can do something about it. The reality is that it may not be immediately easy to make big changes to the experience you offer patients.

But we can help – Global Data Systems has been working with healthcare providers for years, and we recently developed this comprehensive ebook to help you better understand how patient surveys and the right technology can help you boost HCAHPS scores. Be sure to have a look!

Like this article? Check out Clinical Decision Support: When Will Artificial Intelligence Become Intelligent? Your Medical Device May Be A Computer. Treat It Like One! or Microsoft Files Patent Application for Eyewear that Measures Blood Pressure to learn more.

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