blog post 02122016

Words that Work Can Create Positive Results, Especially on HCAHPS

Words that Work can also directly correlate to a patient experience survey question. For example, you might decide to add a key phrase to your exit statement such as, “We want to be sure you experience excellent patient service from our hospital.”

The subsequent patient satisfaction survey could ask,“Did you experience excellent patient service?” If all staff have done their jobs and delivered a consistent message, the patient will respond positively.

Words that Work and HCAHPS

The purpose behind the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) is to uniformly measure and publicly report patients’ perspectives on their inpatient care. What is the difference between HCAHPS and other surveys such as the one that we use to measure patient satisfaction? HCAHPS is designed to report data to consumers by publishing it for public viewing (referred to as transparency); on the other hand, patient satisfaction surveys report information for our internal use and comparison with competitors.

The HCAHPS survey currently consists of 27 questions. Discharged patients are requested to rate their care based on seven key topics: communication with doctors, communication with nurses, responsiveness of hospital staff, cleanliness and quietness of hospital environment, pain management, communication about medicines, and discharge information.

It asks such questions as “During this hospital stay, how often did nurses explain things in a way you could understand? How often was the area around your room quiet at night? How often did nurses listen carefully to you?” In response to most of the survey questions, patients are asked to choose one of the following four answers: never, sometimes, usually, always.

Examples of Words That Work
Just as Words that Work can be utilized to directly correlate to a patient satisfaction survey question, it can also be used to correspond to HCAHPS wording. Some examples are:

  • “Our goal is to make sure you receive excellent care and that our entire team treats you with care and compassion.”
  • “I see that Dr. Jones will be your physician. He has been on our team for the past 5 years. Dr.
    Jones is a hospitalist and specializes in ensuring our patients receive the highest quality of care while they stay with us. He is an excellent communicator.”
  • “Many patients have questions ... I want to make sure I explain the procedure in a way you can understand. Do you have any questions?”
  • “We are committed to making sure that we have a quiet environment for you at night. Please let us know if at any point you are not able to rest at night.”
  • “Our goal is to provide you with very good care every time. We want you to think of us as your hospital of choice.” 

Moments of TruthTM
Moments of Truth is especially valuable in handling certain situations that can be described as “moments of truth” – when a customer comes in contact with our organization and forms an impression, either positive or negative. One moment of truth can irrevocably impact how an individual perceives his or her entire healthcare experience. Words that Work helps ensure that all customer contacts are good ones.

Identifying potential moments of truth is best achieved through the process of “service mapping.” Every service that we provide has a pathway that patients and their families
follow. There are critical junctures along that pathway where our words and behavior are especially important. These are “touch points” that we can positively influence with Words that Work.

Examples of touch points are: registration, clinical procedures, explaining delays, interdepartmental transfers, and a send-off or good-bye. The use of Words that Work during moments of truth means that we are sending a positive and consistent message; it is thoughtful, planned communication.

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