Patients have an uncanny ability to pick up on underlying areas that need improvement in your hospital. Do you know how to translate what they’re saying? Learning how to interpret patient satisfaction results is becoming even more crucial because of upcoming changes to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) scoring.
Starting next year, your hospital’s overall reimbursement score will be impacted by how well your emergency department does on patient satisfaction surveys. It could cost your hospital a percent of your Medicaid reimbursement.
Here is how to translate some patient satisfaction results into changes for good.
Low score on: Attentiveness of nursing staff
Take a look at: Your staffing ratios and scheduling and rounding procedures
Nurses that don’t have time to spend with patients and satisfaction scores reflect that. Patients report less empathetic nurses when the nurses are harried and pressed for time.
In California, safe staffing laws have stated the appropriate staffing ratio in emergency departments is four patients to every nurse. The closer you are to that ideal the more time nurses have to talk with patients and provide quality care. Not only do patient satisfaction scores rise but outcomes can too.
If you feel you can’t afford new hires, take a look at how you’re doing scheduling. Maybe you can rebalance how staffed up your emergency department is so you’re making the most of the staff you do have and are balancing your staff to workload ratio appropriately.
Another way to boost scores in this arena: take a look at rounding. Are patients being checked on every hour by staff? When you provide scripting for allied health professionals when they complete rounds it makes it easier for the staff and ensures that patients are being listened to and their basic needs are being cared for.
Low score on: Delays in care
Take a look at: Operational efficiencies
How is patient triage upon arrival? Does your staff have processes in place to rapidly assess whether a patient is suffering from a heart attack or sore throat and get them the proper care? Develop processes to provide the right service with the right provider at the right cost. This approach requires developing clear procedures for routing patients efficiently and effectively to the appropriate treatment area and for diagnostics, e.g. x-rays. Putting specific processes in place creates efficiencies and cuts down on the possibility of a patient languishing in one area and long throughput times.
For more insights into what your patient satisfaction scores are trying to tell you, reach out to me. I am happy to help your emergency department with an assessment that uncovers opportunities for improvement and outlines recommended actions.