April 15, 2011

It's something we all expect whether we're shopping at a store, having our vehicles repaired or eating at a restaurant: quality service.


The same is true in health care. Patients and families count on us to care for their illnesses or injuries and they want to be treated with respect.


"Patients and families have told us that respect means communicating and responding to their needs in a timely manner," said Andrew Weber, vice president and administrator, CAMC Women and Children's Hospital.

"Introducing yourself and explaining your role, keeping patients and families informed of progress with their care, making eye contact, listening, and saying 'please' and 'thank you' are a few of the key behaviors that demonstrate respect."


CAMC has been monitoring patient satisfaction for several years. Now patients can compare what they say about CAMC to what patients are saying about other hospitals.


The Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) is the first national, standardized, publicly reported survey showing how patients felt they were treated while in the hospital.


Random samples of adult in-patients are surveyed within one week after following discharge from the hospital.


The HCAHPS survey asks discharged patients 18 core questions about their hospital experience, including:

•·         Nurse and doctor communications

•·         Communication about medicines

•·         Responsiveness of hospital staff

•·         Cleanliness and quietness of the hospital environment

•·         Pain management

•·         Discharge information

•·         Overall rating of hospital

•·         Whether they would recommend the hospital


Aside from patients being able to compare and choose which hospital to provide their care, it also affects hospitals financially.


Hospitals will gain or lose money based on what patients report about their experience.


"It is just as important to care for patients' emotional needs as well as their medical needs," Weber said.


When patients and families leave CAMC, they remember how they were treated.


"Patients' experiences are determined by hospital staff at every step of the care process from registration to discharge," said David Ramsey, CEO. "Using the manners and respect most of us were taught at an early age, each employee has the power to affect every patient's satisfaction, every day."


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) publishes participating hospitals' HCAHPS results on the Hospital Compare Web site www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov.

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