Exploring the Quadruple Aim Blog Post

Exploring the Quadruple Aim – Enhancing patient experience

August 16, 2021
August 16, 2021

Improving healthcare quality has been firmly on the U.S. healthcare system's radar since at least 1999, when the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System. The current framework for making healthcare better, adopted widely by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and other institutions, is commonly known as the "Quadruple Aim."

Focusing squarely on enhancing the patient experience

This blog post continues our blog series based on the HealthStream ebook, The Quadruple Aim, that explores this important effort to improve and reform U.S. healthcare.Here we will briefly examine the effort to improve patient experience.

Not only do patients want to receive better service from healthcare institutions, but they also want to take a more primary role in all decision-making connected to their care. At the same time, healthcare leaders are aware that better healthcare experiences can lead to improved results on a clinical and financial level. This is supported by research from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) which affirms the contributions of patient experience to:

  • Better health outcomes
  • Improved patient adherence to medical advice and treatment plans
  • Lower insurance risk
  • Higher levels of healthcare staff retention

The importance of measuring patient experience

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has developed a series of surveys to assess the patient experience of care in every care environment that spans across the care continuum—hospitals, physician offices, home health facilities, long term care facilities, ambulatory surgery centers, nursing homes, etc. The highest levels of care as identified by survey results are rewarded and those at the bottom are penalized. One reason is that low patient experience scores can reveal serious problems such as delays in delivering test results or poor communication with providers that can result in problems with quality of care, patient safety, and inefficiency.

Some of the ways to improve patient experience encouraged by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and AHRQ are:

  • Including patients and families in the design process for care pathways
  • Encouraging providers to understand and incorporate personal care preferences
  • Involve care partners in plans that focus on engagement, consensus-based decision making, and strengthening empathy
  • Promote community-based efforts that encourage health and local caregiving
  • Ensure greater access to appointment scheduling
  • Improve information availability
  • Focusing on price transparency, referral programs, and reminder systems

Download the Quadruple Aim ebook to learn more about each Aim and how HealthStream has mapped multiple solutions to each of these critical issues.

From solutions with a focus ranging from clinical development and reimbursement to quality and performance management, HealthStream is dedicated to improving patient outcomes through the development of healthcare organizations' greatest asset: their people.

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