Saturday, 28 July 2012

Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS)

Curiosity has its own advantages. It helps you discover things you may otherwise miss. I have recently started following ASQ’s CEO Paul Borawski’s blog titled ‘A View from the Q’. Last month he had posted a blog that asked ASQ’s Influential Voices bloggers to share their views on ‘taking quality beyond products’. He had very nicely summarized everyone’s views in another blog. On the Service quality in healthcare, Nergis Soylemez had shared her opinion on her personal blog. Nergis comes with a background in quality in manufacturing industry and currently works with a hospital in Dallas. While reading her post, I came across something called as HCAHPS. The reason I was curious about this acronym was because it was a “government initiative to provide a standardized survey instrument to measure patients' perspective on hospital care”. Interesting, isn’t it?

So I went to HCAHPS’ website to find out what exactly this initiative is and what purpose does it serve. I was amazed at the fact that something as simple as a patient satisfaction survey has been standardized across a country, which has an opportunity to “publicly report patients' perspectives of care information that would enable valid comparisons to be made across all hospitals”. That is, to enable “apples to apples comparisons to support consumer choice”. WOW!!

The survey form is simple, nothing great about it. You can download it here. Or you can directly have a look at the survey form here.

As Nergis points out in her blog, the survey measures the performance of the hospital’s services on “several factors associated with patient satisfaction such as nurse communication, staff responsiveness, hospital environment and pain management”. In my experience, the patient experience/feedback forms that I have seen have been more elaborate on the services which were offered to patients for assessment. But what we can learn from HCAHPS initiative is that there is definitely a need for a standardization of feedback system so as to bring in comparability.

In an earlier blog also I had written about an attempt by NABH to bring in an objective system to rank the accredited hospitals on their performance on set objective performance indicators and NABH 3rd edition is a step towards that direction. On patient satisfaction also, we need a similar initiative in our country.

Meanwhile, readers can also enjoy this blog by Regina Holliday. Click on the photograph to visit her blog. She writes on Medical Advocacy.

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