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ISSUE: Hospital seeks to improve service and perception
OUR VIEW: Partnership can help increase hospital value
HCAHPS likely won’t be a familiar acronym to patients healing from surgery or recovering from illness at Hardin Memorial Hospital. But it is to the administrators, physicians, nurses and staff that serve them there. With a new partnership recently established between the hospital and an outside consulting group, new HMH President and CEO Dennis Johnson seeks to make HCAHPS an even more important tool in improving service the hospital provides for our community and region.
HCAHPS, or Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, is a national standard assessment tool used by hospitals and healthcare facilities to measure patient perception and opinion on the quality of care and service they receive.
The assessment is built around a survey of 27 specific questions asked of patients after a hospitalization. Questions center on important aspects of the treatment, recovery and post-recovery experience. Through the questions, a set of key performance measures are obtained and stacked up against other healthcare facilities across the nation. Scores are updated routinely throughout the year and made available to the public by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Access the data and compare HMH’s perception scores against others through a convenient and interactive website — www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov.
In effort to improve HMH’s performance along the scope of the HCAHPS metrics, Johnson recently announced a partnership with Studer Group, a health organization consultant and operational coaching company. According to FAQs found on Studer Group’s website, its clients are said to see improvement in patient, employee and physician satisfaction that lead to improved bottom line. SG says its clients are able to accelerate organizational change to achieve results faster and experience higher bond ratings as a result of operating improvements that are standardized. These results are worthwhile improvement goals for the hospital to pursue.
So how does HMH rank on the metrics? A quick scan of the comparison tables across the survey found on the HCAHPS website show patients indicate good satisfaction responses and have favorable opinions about our local hospital.
But, as in any organization, there’s always room for improvement. With the proper focus and fervor, the partnership between HMH and consulting company should prove to be a sound investment in improving the value the hospital delivers for its most important stake-holders – its patients.
This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.