Hospital-Acquired Conditions (HACs) and infections are illnesses or complications that were not present when the patient was admitted to the hospital, but developed as a result of errors or accidents in the hospital.(1) In an effort to improve patient safety and quality within hospitals, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) developed the HAC Reduction Program in 2015. Since the program was introduced, studies show that hospitals have made considerable progress in reducing HACs.(2) However, there is plenty of room for improvements with some common and troublesome HACs.
There is a lot of focus on patient satisfaction and experience in healthcare, and for good reason. Patient Experience is a key contributor to overall hospital quality measures and insurance reimbursements. In addition, patient satisfaction and experience have been linked time and again to improved patient outcomes. Although we sometimes view satisfaction and experience as the same thing, they are different. Both satisfaction and experience are equally important and require ongoing communication passed between caregivers, as well as from caregivers to patient. A famous physician from Canada, Sir William Osler, once said: “A good physician treats the disease and a great physician treats the patient who has the disease.”(1) The same applies to patient satisfaction and experience. Focusing on creating a satisfied patient who has a positive experience is the key for driving hospital quality and patient loyalty.
A large number of leaders in healthcare agree that staff engagement within a hospital is an essential component for delivering quality patient care, with an empathetic experience, that will result in the best clinical outcomes. Since most of the insurance reimbursements are tied to quality measures, staff engagement has become progressively more essential to healthcare organizations’ bottom line. Amid the competitive landscape and caregiver shortages, organizations are faced with the challenge of vying for the most qualified candidates.
Healthcare organizations have recognized that to keep pace with industry growth, regulatory requirements, and increased responsibilities, caregivers require the aid of innovation. In the past, physicians and nurses had paper charts and labor-intensive processes. Manual processes took away precious time needed for patient care. Fortunately, caregivers today have the opportunity to tap into the entire patient history while in the room with the patient. This is a huge improvement from even five years ago. Many industry thought leaders have been paving the way, replacing paper processes and antiquated technologies with robust, mobile solutions that enable caregivers to improve patient care on-the-spot. Whether it be behind the scenes helping the operations, or front and center in the patient room, technology is changing the game.
At the core of its mission, Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) strive to achieve the highest level of quality care for patients, thereby reducing waste and cutting related costs for hospitals. Regardless of the approach, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) states an essential component for ensuring the best results is to embrace strategies that will support quality across the entire patient journey of care. More specifically, improving communication and collaboration between points of treatment can remove roadblocks that prevent top-quality care. The three biggest areas of concern for breakdowns in care happen to patients with chronic conditions, patients admitted to the Emergency Department, and patients transitioned to Long Term Care. We have some insights on the strategies used by thriving ACOs that help resolve care coordination issues.
As part of their continuous efforts for healthcare facilities to achieve zero harm, the Joint Commission conducts an on-site accreditation survey at least every 39 months. The survey’s purpose is to evaluate and measure organizational compliance with standards of patient safety and quality of care. Because deficiencies found by surveyors are placed on a performance improvement plan, the best strategy is to be proactive and reduce the number of infractions occurring by being well prepared. A common approach endorsed by the Joint Commission is for organizations to conduct ongoing mock surveys.
We all know, providing a safe environment for patients to recover is a fundamental part of offering quality patient care that fosters the best possible outcomes. With healthcare demands as they are, it can be challenging for organizations to balance complying with regulatory requirements while creating the safest place for patients to heal. Lean staffing ratios combined with regulatory, operational and administrative burdens can lead to increased safety issues.
With policy and payment reform tied to quality care and clinical outcomes, hospitals need first-rate physicians that will help to drive changes and process improvements. Once these physicians are on board, the onus is on the hospitals to do their best to engage and retain them. One sure-fire way to do that is by providing physicians with all the tools they need to perform to the best of their ability, in the least amount of time.
Despite ongoing government initiatives for policy and regulation, the healthcare industry continues to grow exponentially. Hospitals must be nimble, flexible, and run a tight ship to remain financially solvent. Growth and staffing shortages, combined with what has become a consumer-driven industry, means that healthcare executives are competing for staff, resources, and patients at the same time they are striving to provide quality patient care and work within a smaller budget. In this environment, healthcare organizations must look at their most significant concerns and areas with the most opportunity for improvement in the shortest amount of time.
Hospitals want to provide a great patient experience, but at times it can be a challenge. The hot topics and emerging trends covered at this year’s Patient Experience Symposium appropriately pointed out that Patient Experience is more than one single thing done by a single person. Instead, Patient Experience must be a mission, one that is owned by every team member within the organization. Clarifire was there to discuss the issues and collaborate with providers on how to improve the patient experience. In case you couldn’t be there, here’s our key takeaways from the conference.
Salary.com conducted a recent survey, compiling a list of the top 10 most stressful jobs. Nursing ranked #6. Surprising to some, but not to those that have made it a career to care for others. Nurses are the glue that holds everything together. Doctors rely on them to carry out orders and provide updates on patient status. Patients need them to provide the care necessary to make them healthy. Nurses go the extra mile to accommodate both groups and never say “that’s not my job”.
In a recent blog, we highlighted an American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) survey addressing the top issues confronting hospitals today. It was no surprise that financial concerns topped the list based on the CEOs surveyed. Numerous factors can have a direct impact on finances and the overall sustainability of hospital operations. One of those factors, government mandates, found itself second in the list of top issues confronting hospitals. Keeping on top of all the changes and managing their impact on the bottom line can sometimes be easier said than done.
In 2014, The Beryl Institute introduced ‘Patient Experience Week’ as a time to recognize healthcare staff that have an impact on patient’s experiences each day. As the industry has moved from volume based to value-based care, consumerism has made patient experience even more critical to organizations. Proving to be an important factor for improving patient safety and clinical outcomes while at the same time eliciting the highest reimbursements possible, Patient Experience is top of mind for most healthcare organization leaders.
In today’s healthcare industry, hospital CEOs face numerous challenges that can disrupt the balance between providing patients with exceptional quality of care and maintaining financial solvency for the organization. In a recent survey by the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), they presented the top challenges cited by community hospital CEOs. For the tenth consecutive year, financial concerns was number one on the list. While hospital operating expenses increase, reimbursements and volume of patients continue to decrease. Managing and overcoming financial concerns while providing communities with the services they want and quality they need proves to be the most challenging for CEOs.
Has your team struggled with improving the patient experience at your hospital? Are you overwhelmed by the possible strategies to employ in order to improve your quality and HCAHPS scores? Many organizations labor over which strategies or data is the most important to analyze. Don’t get caught up in analysis paralysis! With so many options available, here are 3 things that you can do to continue improving your patient experience.
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
Let’s pretend we’re having a conversation, and you can see that I’m not giving you my full attention. Maybe I’m looking across the room, or I’m distracted by my cell phone or watch. I look up and say, “Go ahead and talk. I can listen while I do this.”
In the words of Florence Nightingale, “It may seem a strange principle to enunciate as the very first requirement in a Hospital that it should do the sick no harm”.1 This seems like a no-brainer, right? Do No Harm. Expected or not, most of us being admitted to a hospital have a reasonable assumption that we will not be harmed during our stay. For many, that’s exactly what happens, in and out with no surprises. Sadly, that is not the case for everyone.
Three Patient Experience Leaders walk into a restaurant. The waitress asks, “What are you having today?” They all responded in the same way, “I’d like the Patient-Centered Culture, Service Excellence, and Real-time Technology.” The waitress looked perplexed.
If only these items were made to order like a great meal at your favorite restaurant. Creating a positive patient experience would be easier for large healthcare systems where value-based models are driving structure, profit models and clinical standards.
Rounding has proven to be an effective practice in determining the level of patient satisfaction and improving the overall patient experience. Many organizations will purchase a rounding solution to support and analyze rounding activities. Did your organization make the investment, but you haven’t seen an increase in HCAHPS scores? Were you able to sustain the scores from previous years? If you answered no to those questions, does that mean you bought the wrong solution?
HCAHPS – who knew that six letters could have such an impact on an organization? Low HCAHPS scores can result in a loss of revenue, an unfavorable reputation in the community, public reporting of unsatisfactory scores, and potential downsizing of programs and/or employees. Are your patient satisfaction scores lower than you expected? It’s time to take a look at the consistency of your nurse leader rounding.
Has the following situation ever happened at your hospital? A patient, named Bob, comes in for heart surgery over 20 years ago. Since then, he comes in as needed for “tune ups”. Over the years, Bob has become very familiar with his care team. It’s now that time for Bob to come in for his latest procedure. When Bob arrives, his care team discovers that due to an error in ordering that they didn’t have the right supplies in the room for him. The care team could not provide Bob with the care he needed, in that place, at that time.
Improving Patient Experience remains top of mind for most healthcare executives, but strategies and best practices are still being discovered and vary between organizations. Two evidence based strategies often used to increase low patient experience scores are Hourly Rounding and Bedside Shift Reports.
Tis the season for cooler temps, pumpkin spice, time spent with friends and family….and the flu. It’s the dreaded three letter word that we all want to avoid this season. According to the CDC, over 80,000 Americans died of influenza and its complications during the 2017-18 season.1 This surpassed a previous recorded all-time high dating back more than three decades at 56,000 deaths.2
Nearly 21,000 U.S. healthcare organizations and programs are accredited and certified by The Joint Commission, making it a recognized symbol of quality nationwide. It’s their vision that providers deliver safe, quality healthcare at the best value for all. They determine this through regular, unannounced accreditation surveys1. Think the comprehensiveness of a final exam with a pop quiz schedule. How do you cram for that? You don’t. You plan!
There are many issues defining the landscape of healthcare for 2018. According to the PwC Health Research Institute, strategic patient experience and tackling the opioid crisis are among the top 12.1 Opioid use has been a hot topic of concern for decades. However, with the latest staggering statistics on opioid addiction and related deaths, finding a solution to the crisis has come front and center.
With the rise in value based models driving hospital reimbursements, a patient’s perception of care can have an impact to a hospital’s bottom line. There is concern that in tackling the opioid crisis there could be a negative impact on survey scores. So how do healthcare providers handle these two issues when they become competing priorities?
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