Academic journal article Journal of Healthcare Management

PRACTITIONER APPLICATION: Sustained Hospital Performance on HCAHPS SurveyMeasures: What Are the Determinants?

Academic journal article Journal of Healthcare Management

PRACTITIONER APPLICATION: Sustained Hospital Performance on HCAHPS SurveyMeasures: What Are the Determinants?

Article excerpt

Going beyond reputation, service, and loyalty implications, Al-Amin, Schiaffino, Park, and Harman point out that patient experience has a direct financial impact on hospitals. Their study is a good start toward identifying aspects of the patient experience that are directly affected by a healthcare organization's structure. Providing evidence that nurse staffing, being a teaching hospital, and competition are each positively associated with patient experience helps to codify the value of leadership decisions on these variables. Independent, not-for-profit, and nonteaching hospitals, as well as hospitals without hospitalists, likely will find the results valuable, too.

Several hospital characteristics may be positively associated with patient experience. For example, teaching hospitals may be more inclined to support educational (i.e., nonmedical staff) efforts such as nursing and other clinical programs. This focus on learning could produce evidence-based, outcome-enhancing structures and executive decisions. In addition, competition and the requirements to excel when patients have choices could ensure that hospitals remain attentive to patients' experiences.

Although an optimal structure can set the stage, there are aspects of the hospital that may amplify-or, conversely, eliminate-this advantage. Culture is a critical element in the ability to achieve and sustain high patient experience scores. Supporting the authors' findings, a strategy to foster an ideal culture calls for instilling presence, accountability, and recognition in day-to-day operations.

PRESENCE

There are a number of ways for healthcare leaders to better relate with staff and patients. Occasionally visiting nursing units, procedure areas, service departments, reception desks, and staff meetings provides opportunities to connect. This presence facilitates two-way communication with frontline staff and often reveals important information not captured in decision support models. It also provides an opportunity for patients to understand the importance that leadership places on their care and experience. …

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