It is hard to believe 2019 is over. The year rocketed by as we watched healthcare disruption manifest in numerous ways. We saw large-scale changes, such as CVS and Aetna team up, Uber expand their ridesharing in the healthcare industry, and Amazon join forces with J.P. Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway to slash healthcare prices for their 1.1 million employees. We also saw changes on a smaller scale that packed a punch. Take patient experience HCAHPS surveys for an example. Most know the impact of these surveys can be the difference between a financial loss or gain. Therefore, when Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) removed pain management questions from the HCHAPS survey in 2019, the industry took notice.
Providing a good patient experience as part of quality care is not new, and has always been important. The implementation of the HCAHPS survey only increased the importance and made it top-of-mind for healthcare leaders. CMS and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) collaborated to develop the HCAHPS survey, implementing it in 2006. It was the first national survey to provide public data related to the patient’s perspective of care while in the hospital. Sharing the data publically incentivizes hospitals to improve quality to compete with other hospitals, and provides consumers with side-by-side quality ratings to consider when choosing their provider. The standardized questions on the survey became an integral piece of the quality puzzle, with measures directly tied to Medicare reimbursements and heavy financial penalties for sub-par quality.