From the HealthStream Engagement Institute
blog 4.18.13

Physicians and CG-CAHPS: Know Your Patient Experience Touch Points

Physicians are being held accountable for patient experience in stronger and more meaningful ways. To start, the CAHPS surveys are now targeting physicians in practice settings. Currently, CMS has mandated that only physicians participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) and the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) must use unique versions of the CG-CAHPS survey to measure the patient experience. Soon, most, if not all, physicians will be required to measure patient experience using a CAHPS survey.

Everyone in the Practice is Responsible for Patient Experience

While it is important to engage physicians in creating a stronger patient experience, we must remember that it is still the entire physician’s office (Access, Tone, Explanation, Follow-up) that creates the overall patient-centered experience. For patients, it is the combination of processes, experiences with staff, and interaction with the physician that create a complete impression of the visit. In the practice environment, staff at each touch point play key roles in casting the patient experience. For example, a “great physician experience” in the eyes of the patient is often not due to the physician alone. What may appear on the surface to be a physician concern could very well be an access issue preceding the visit.

Understand the answer to these questions:

  • Was the patient able to make a timely appointment?
  • Were staff nice on the phone?
  • Was the office clean?

Know Your Patient Experience Touch Points

The patient experience is shaped across the entire continuum of care and includes everything the patient sees, hears, feels, and touches while moving across it. There are five sets of touch points in the physician practice to consider when working to create an exceptional patient experience [See chart below]. Physician offices need to plan how they interact with patients at each of the touch points and how they wish patients to perceive the experience. For instance, the patient’s perception starts prior to the patient visit. This is the time when appointments are made and information begins to flow back and forth, including the sharing of patient health information.

During the visit, the patient will experience the reception room, communicate with staff, and expect courtesy and a timely appointment. In the examination room, there will be encounters with staff and information will be exchanged again. The final two touch point areas include interacting with the physician and/or other providers, along with follow-up care. It’s important to remember that while it may seem to physicians and staff that each touch point is separate, the patient sees one fluid experience. A positive or negative experience at any single touch point can impact the perception of the entire visit and may be the key to moving from “Usually” to “Always” on patient experience surveys.

Learn more about our patient experience solutions.

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