HCAHPS – Changing the Way That Healthcare Operates

August 9, 2011


HCAHPS or the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey is changing the way hospitals receive funding. With governmentally initiated shifts in healthcare policies and practices underway, HCAHPS will serve as a protective measure for patients, assuring that both before and after the commotion of policy change, patient care either remains strong or improves to meet a new, elevated standard of care.

Initiated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the uniform and closely regulated HCAHPS survey allows:

  • A standardized and fair approach to developing meaningful hospital comparisons
  • Increased hospital accountability and added incentives, like Value Based Purchasing (VBP), for quality improvement
  • Greater public accountability

Prior to the development of the HCAHPS survey, quality focused organizations like Vanguard Resources who had an elevated interest in patient safety, institution cleanliness and other factors now evaluated by HCAHPS, would typically perform their own patient satisfaction surveys. The new standardized approach to evaluations provides organizations like Vanguard an ally in quality assurance.

Until recently, hospitals and healthcare providers found themselves rushing to complete the entire HCAHPS survey for Hospital Comparisons process by July of 2011 – an already extended deadline.

Take advantage of the newest deadline delay to tie up any HCAHPS loose ends lying around your organization:

  • Review your list of patient survey recipients and make certain you have distributed the correct amount of surveys to the correct, eligible individuals.
  • Touch base with your survey vendor if your institution uses one. Make sure the process has been carried out smoothly on their end and check to see if you can provide them any additional counsel or participation. Such accommodating efforts on the behalf of your vendor to make their role easier will establish the positive, collaborative framework to make your future transactions with them more pleasant and amicable. Teamwork is essential for this process to truly reflect your institution’s best results.
  • Most importantly, attempt to finish up and turn in your HCAHPS surveys ahead of deadline. Don’t wait until the last minute. There’s no guarantee that the already stretched deadline will be extended a third time.

HCAHPS are here to stay, so do all you can to make the survey process as automated, streamlined and painless as possible. As hospital budgets shrink, look to HCAHPS as your financial defendant, appearing front and center at big time budget meetings showcasing your worth, patient satisfaction and institutional effectiveness to all.