12:39 03 June 2021
With all the news coverage that Press Ganey scores have gotten in the media over the last few years, there's no wonder that those three words can strike fear into the heart of any professional health care worker, nurse, or doctor. In fact, many people tend to judge the success of a hospital or healthcare facility based on their patient satisfaction numbers.
While patient satisfaction is paramount, that doesn't mean that hospitals should only focus on that and let other factors go by the wayside. However, some proven methods can help Improve press ganey scores and ultimately increase overall patient satisfaction. Following is some information about what Press Ganey actually is, why it matters, and how to improve the patient experience.
In the 1980s, the healthcare industry was revolutionized with the creation of the Press Ganey satisfaction survey. Dr. Press and Dr. Ganey partnered together to develop the first scientifically valid survey relating to the patient experience and overall satisfaction. Ultimately, their goal was to improve the cost, safety, and quality of healthcare, and it remains the organization's fundamental goal today. It also allows for a level of accountability that never existed before this survey was utilized around the nation.
The higher the score, the better it is for the hospital or nursing home and speaks to a relatively high level of patient satisfaction and care. Not only do hospitals face Press Ganey scores, but they also must undergo the HCAHPS testing or the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems. These HCAHPS scores can be very damaging to a facility if they don't score very well. In fact, Press Ganey is actually an approved vendor of HCAHPS, which many hospitals place a lot of emphasis on as it can have real effects on things like cost and care quality.
For starters, these scores essentially are a "star rating" that can be easily compared by potential patients online and then used as a deciding factor in whether to patronize the facility. So, it's damaging to a facility's reputation, but it has worse repercussions than that. A hospital or nursing home that scores low on Press Ganey actually has their Medicaid/Medicare reimbursements through CMS decreased, which can have a negative impact.
Since the Press Ganey and HCAHPS surveys are so important, it goes without saying that many hospitals and health care facilities are eager to improve them as much as possible. In fact, many health care professionals can even become stressed out due to worrying about their scores, which is never healthy. Here are some ways that can help improve these scores and overall patient satisfaction and experience.
One of the most significant areas that can help improve patient satisfaction is enhancing communication between patients and staff. For some healthcare professionals, it's all too easy to lapse into "professional jargon" that many patients don't understand. Remember, when patients are in a hospital, it's a very scary and stressful time in their life.
That's why it's crucial to have excellent communication between nurses, doctors, and staff. When patients are treated with respect and feel like they're being listened to, it can greatly improve their confidence and experience. With better communication, patients can be better informed about their condition, how to proceed, their available options, and what to expect in the coming days. Ultimately, it makes patients feel like they're important and respected, which does wonders for patient satisfaction.
Another critical aspect that goes a long way to patient satisfaction is keeping the facility neat and clean. Ultimately, this has a lot to do with the janitorial and maintenance staff, which should be efficient, professional, and effective at their job. In fact, some of the survey questions on the Press Ganey and HCAHPS directly ask about the overall cleanliness and housekeeping of the facility, the rooms, and the bathrooms.
Another big issue that many patients show dissatisfaction with is the timely removal of dirty meal trays. Having a dirty breakfast tray can be a huge turn-off for patients, and it takes up precious space in the room, too.
Another vital area where patient satisfaction sometimes lacks is the level of accessibility and mobility the facility has. For instance, there should always be handrails or guide rails, even on flat surfaces or hallways. Another location where they should be a high level of mobility for disabled or temporarily bedbound patients is the bathroom. Nobody likes needing assistance to use the bathroom, and the addition of things like extra handrails or seats can help eliminate the need for some people to ask for help when they need to use the restroom.
When patients come into the hospital, oftentimes, they leave with one or more prescriptions. Every prescription medication comes with side effects, some of which can disrupt a patient's life. That's why it's crucial that the doctors and nurses spend time educating patients about the medications they're going to be taking, give them clear direction on how to take them, and what kind of side effects to expect. Unfortunately, the time constraints on many healthcare professionals mean that there's not always time for this—but it's an essential aspect of patient care that shouldn't be neglected.
One other aspect that can help improve patient satisfaction is offering aftercare services after leaving the hospital or facility. In fact, most patients don't expect any type of aftercare services at all once they go. Access to aftercare service continues to be a significant part of Press Ganey and HCAHPS scores and can significantly affect a hospital's overall score.
One good way to combat this is to have a clear discussion with patients before they're discharged. Ask them if there's somebody at their home that can help them if needed or if they're going to need outside help with tasks like cooking, house cleaning, or going to the bathroom. Give them access to some in-home health care agencies or information about Medicaid or Medicare benefits they might not be signed up for yet.
There's no doubt about it: Press Ganey and HCAHPS scores are very important and can have real consequences for a health care facility, whether it's a hospital, rehabilitation center, or a nursing home. Getting a low score on these surveys can even lower the amount of reimbursement a hospital receives from Medicaid. Use these five tips to help improve patient experience and their overall satisfaction, and ultimately improve the scores on these critical surveys, too.