Download: Summary – HCAHPS Best Practices in High Performing Critical Access Hospitals Study

There are many ways to increase your HCAHPS scores as detailed in the article above. One problem that plagues many small hospitals is that they have trouble getting patients to fill out the surveys. This issue can be addressed by telling the patient several times during their stay to expect a survey. Moreover, other hospitals give out an HCAHPS reminder brochure or place survey information on televisions in the patient rooms.

One method to increase the patient’s opinion on communication between the patient and the nurse is to have the nurses use keywords during patient interactions and education. The use of keywords helps the patient associate the education they received with the questions on the survey. The responsiveness of the staff is another area that is addressed in the HCAHPS. Therefore, having everyone—not just nurses—respond to call lights may increase this score. Pain management is another area that can be improved. Setting realistic expectations for pain control as well as providing alternative therapies can increase patient comfort while decreasing their dependence upon pain medication.

Medication communication is another area where hospitals can improve HCAHPS scores. A strategy of high performing hospitals is to have the Pharmacist visit the patient to review their medication, reinforce the prescribed dosing schedule, as well as answer any of the patient’s medication questions. Ensuring that the patient feels that their room is clean is very important. This can be done by making the patient is aware of the cleaning services performed before and during the stay as well as performing random cleanliness audits. A final area surveyed by HCAPHS is the discharge information and care transitions. Usually, satisfaction can be improved by calling the patient after discharge to review discharge instructions and address any patient or caregiver questions that might have come up.