Case Management Certification Article on HCAHPS Scores

Secure Your Score: A Few Tips to Improve Your Practice’s HCAHPS Score

Something healthcare practitioners should give a lot of attention to is the HCAHPS. This acronym stands for Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems. This is a survey that is filled out by patients to indicate their satisfaction or lack thereof with the services rendered at a medical facility. You can think of HCAHPS as a performance review performed by actual patients.

Hcahps is required by CMS, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It is used for all hospitals in the United States. It is performed over the phone after a patient is discharged. The results of these surveys become part of the public record and are used by the government to determine reimbursement for that facility. It’s extremely important to receive good scores on this survey. Below are a few tips you can use to improve your practice’s HCAHPS scores.

Make Your Team Cognizant of HCAHPS

Obtaining high scores on HCAHPS requires good communication among all the staff members of a medical facility. It must be communicated to nurses, doctors and other staff members that HCAHPS is a strong priority. They must be made aware of the scores that have been received. There should be an open dialogue on how to improve scores and ways different staff members can do their part to improve the patient experience. Consider having staff meetings about HCAHPS specifically especially if low scores are an issue.

Treat Patients with Respect and Courtesy

Low HCAHPS scores may be an indication that patients believe they are not being treated with the right amount of respect and courtesy by nurses, doctors and others that work in a medical facility. The first question on the survey in fact regards the courtesy shown to a patient by nurses. Lack of respect and courtesy as perceived by the patient can throw off the entire score.

Sometimes, there may be a difference in perceptions regarding an interaction between a healthcare professional and a patient. Just because the healthcare professional believes the interaction went well does not mean the patient feels the same way. In this case, some additional training may be required. The patient should be properly greeted, and the healthcare professional should maintain eye contact with that patient. Having a friendly demeanor and making small talk can also go a long way with helping to improve patient satisfaction.

Listen to Patients

Another important question on the HCAHPS survey regards whether or not a patient was listened to properly. Listening is an important part of the healthcare process. It is one of the ways healthcare professionals like nurses and doctors gather evidence to help make informed decisions regarding patient care. Patients may be experiencing specific symptoms that they find very worrying. If a healthcare professional does not properly listen to what patients have to say and instead interrupts or ignores them, this can be very distressing.

Communicate Clearly with Patients

Listening is only part of proper communication with patients. You also need to be able to explain medical conditions, care plans, tests, prescriptions, etc. In a way that the patient understands. Whether or not this communication was clear enough is also something that is scored on the HCAHPS. Try to avoid technical medical jargon and explain things in ways that individual patients can comprehend. Don’t be afraid to use tools to help educate patients either. A DVD with animations that demonstrate how a certain medical procedure is performed can be an effective teaching tool.

Overall, HCAHPS is important. If you don’t receive good scores, you have an issue that must be immediately addressed. Improving HCAHPS scores isn’t only important because it’s used as a measuring tool by CMS. If you want to be a good healthcare practitioner, patients should feel satisfied with the care they receive in your facility.


Please also review our Case Management Certification

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