Great Expectations: How Managing your Patients Perception of their Care Influences the Bottom Line.

We have all heard the cliche perception is reality, which is more prevalent now than ever before. Following the recent mandate by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services regarding the HCAHPS survey score and its direct relation to hospital revenue, you, as a rehab professional, have more power to influence the patient and his/ her perception of the care they receive. As described by the CMS, the HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) survey is the first national, standardized, publicly reported survey of patients’ perspectives of hospital care. HCAHPS (pronounced “H-caps”), also known as the CAHPS® Hospital Survey, is a survey instrument and data collection methodology for measuring patients’ perceptions of their hospital experience.

Effective within the last few weeks, Medicare now penalizes a hospital based on HCAHPS scores, making the success and failures of your hospital corporation heavily rely on the patients’ perception of the care you provide.  Although this mandate has caused much push-back and angst amongst patient care providers, especially in the rehab departments, its transparent nature provides a quantifiable look into how care is perceived.As a rehab professional, your time with each patient is limited and vital to make that impression count and last. Here are some steps to increase the likelihood that your patient will have a positive patient experience.

  1. Get back to the basics: Touch, communicate, maintain eye contact, and don’t forget to smile.
  2. Practice the Platinum Rule of Customer Service: Treat patients how they WISH to be treated, not as you think they should be treated.
  3. Have a sense of urgency.
  4. Always try to involve the family if it will help support your patient care outcome.
  5. If you say you’re going to do something, do it!  Patients DON’T forget.
  6. Be a Team Player.  Maintain open communication with other department personnel involved with the patient.
  7. Before you leave, always ask if there is anything else you can do.

Just because a patient is in-valid, does not make them invalid. The expectation of being cared for as a human being, should be the standard. Patient care is common sense, so keep it humane and follow the list above. By implementing these steps, you will not only be able to influence how your patient experiences their time with you, you will feel good about your work.  Doing your part will help minimize the Medicare reimbursement penalty that your hospital may incur, as well as the impact is has on your career.

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