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How You’re Mistakenly Devaluing Efforts to Improve Patient Experience

April 25, 2019

“Hospitals may not be getting enough responses to showcase caregiver efforts”

The positive correlation between Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and System (HCAHPS) dimension scores and response rates accentuates the need for hospitals to have strong response rates for HCAHPS. Our recently published study replicates the correlation from previous research, now analyzed for hospitals nationwide. These findings enable hospitals to gain a more accurate understanding of their patients’ perceptions of their inpatient experiences.

“In the past two years, CMS [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] has repeatedly voiced concern with these low response rates and stressed the need for improvement,” reported Dr. Joe Inguanzo, President and CEO of PRC. “That said, many healthcare organizations are making large investments towards improving their patient experience, yet are not experiencing an accurate ROI as their results could be under-represented.”

Financial benefits aside, hospitals with increased response rates also receive valuable feedback from a higher proportion of patients, thus creating a more reliable and credible sample of the total hospital patient population. On the other hand, hospitals with low response rates can see a negative hit to their HCAHPS score, which can impact their bottom-line and employee morale.

PRC’s analysis reveals a positive relationship across every HCAHPS dimension. The peer-reviewed study examines the historical trends of the national response rate, survey methodologies, and provides three hospital case studies. These case studies demonstrate the positive correlation of scores with an improved response rate with a change in methodology.

“Through our research, we see that regardless of the situation, this positive correlation emphasizes the importance of achieving a high response rate to best understand a hospital’s true performance accurately. Simply put, scores should reflect the true efforts of caregivers and leaders, which too often is not the case,” stated Dr. Inguanzo.

The paper, “The impact of response rate on Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and System (HCAHPS) dimension scores” authored by Erin Godden, Andrea Paseka, Jan Gnida, and Dr. Joe Inguanzo, was originally published in Volume 6, Issue 1-2019 of the Patient Experience Journal and can be downloaded at pxjournal.org.