Modernizing CAHPS: The Time Has Come

Download Infographic Here

Since July 2007, hospitals have been required by CMS to collect, submit, and publicly report patient satisfaction surveys through the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) in order to receive full Medicare payment. Unfortunately, to the detriment of more timely and accurate data, HCAHPS surveys can be administered by mail only, telephone only, mail with telephone follow-up, and/or Active Interactive Voice Response (IVR). Not only do these traditional survey methods create excessive survey administration burden, they capture old data as patients can be surveyed between 48 hours and six weeks after discharge. Additionally, the number of survey responses is steadily declining. A health care organization that sees 250,000 patients per year may expect fewer than 2,000 completed surveys. Because of the restraints of the traditional survey methods, hospitals do not have enough data in a timely manner to make meaningful patient experience decisions.

In our experience, we have seen widespread adoption and usage of digital tools by all patient populations – including the vulnerable populations, such as the housing insecure and elderly populations. CMS itself has rightfully pointed out the persistent myth of low technology use among seniors in a recent CMS blog post: “Sadly, this type of ageism isn’t anything new. But it is inaccurate. CMS research has demonstrated repeatedly that many people with Medicare own smartphones and tablets, download apps, and use them all the time.” There has been a drastic increase in internet and smart phone use amongst seniors – and it will only continue to grow. We urge CMS to modernize the CAHPS survey program to include digital means of survey administration.

More Than A Mantra

More than a mantra

How healthcare providers can develop a culture of service

“Happy people beget good experiences.”

That’s one of the primary conclusions of the latest patient experience benchmarking report from the Beryl Institute, a nonprofit organization focused on improving the patient experience. For the study, “The State of Patient Experience 2017,” Beryl also surveyed more than 1,000 clinicians, middle managers and executives of hospitals and health systems across the United States, asking them to list their top three priorities for the next three years.

With healthcare awash in consolidation and increased competition for patients, it’s not surprising that quality, safety and service sat at the top of their list of concerns; after all, healthcare today is a consumer-focused, retail business and, as a result, the biggest market share often goes to the provider with the most polished or convenient product. Even more, Beryl researchers identified what it deemed the “most significant discovery” of its latest research: the rapid rise in recent years of engaging employees on the patient experience and, most importantly, deploying strategies for them to address patient concerns.

This sharp uptick in employee engagement, the researchers concluded, likely reveals an underlying culture shift at many hospitals and health systems towards “addressing the delivery of care as central to addressing the experience of those receiving it.” That said, changing an organization’s culture is easier said than done. In a June 2018 Chilmark report, one chief experience officer went so far as to characterize the challenges of retooling a healthcare provider’s culture around the customer experience as “slow pick-and-shovel work.”

Is your organization ready to start swinging the ax? If so, these are the first three steps to implementing cultural change within a healthcare organization, according to an October 2018 Harvard Business Review essay:

  • Understand why staff think proposed changes are inconsistent with the status quo.
  • Support the new policies with data detailing the urgent issues and how these efforts will fix them.
  • Decide what behaviors will be OK — and what will not be.


Another engagement strategy for shifting an organization’s culture is by implementing service recovery. Pioneered by the travel and tourism industry decades ago, the practice means stepping in to address an issue or concern in real time. Often times, patients and their families who are encountering a stressful healthcare situation only want to be heard, and service recovery is a way for providers to engage them directly while attempting to meet their expectations.

Still, many providers don’t know where to start; they lack either the ability to identify customer service needs or they don’t have the right mechanisms in place to take real-time corrective actions — or both. In either case, here’s how providers can start the feedback loop:

  • Set a goal: What is your organization trying to achieve, e.g., higher volume or better customer satisfaction scores? Identifying the goal will help your team pick the right technology tools or manual processes for achieving the desired result.
  • Pick the right tools: There’s a variety of technology applications and strategies for gathering consumer data, so it’s critical to select the right one for the specific organization.
  • Commit to seeing it through: Continuous improvement should be made a priority once the service recovery feedback loop is operational. Similarly, facilities should have a plan that emphasizes the following five service recovery best practices: listen, offer a blameless apology, offer to help, follow through and keep it professional.


Interested in learning more about how service recovery can help shift the culture at your organization? Let’s talk. Based in New York, Quality Reviews, Inc., was founded by leading healthcare providers and entrepreneurs with a combined 30-plus years of clinical, healthcare administrative and technology building experience. We help healthcare provider organizations capture and analyze real-time patient feedback to facilitate service recovery.

With hospitals today operating on the narrowest of margins, losing even one patient over poor customer service is too many. Complicating matters, most healthcare organizations still use traditional surveys to track and monitor patient satisfaction metrics, putting them at a considerable disadvantage in terms of identifying service recovery opportunities.

We make it easy for patients to provide real-time feedback — and even easier for healthcare leaders to improve service based on this feedback. Utilizing real-time feedback, our service recovery and daily performance improvement tools help shift the focus onto the patient and promote a culture of service excellence.

Is Your Patient Experience Data Actionable?

Is your patient experience actionable? Physician bedside manner. Facility cleanliness. Nurse response time. These are just a few of the factors that influence how patients feel about their healthcare experience. If a patient has an issue, you’ll likely hear about it. But will it be too late? Download our latest infographic by clicking the image…

Caution: Social Media Risks Ahead

Caution: Social media risks ahead

Today, social media adoption by hospitals and health systems in the United States is nearly universal: 94 percent of hospitals and health systems have a Facebook page, 51 percent have a Twitter account and 99 percent use Yelp and Foursquare, according to a study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

But for providers, social media can be a double-edged sword.

These applications offer providers countless opportunities for patient engagement, marketing and can enhance “the image and visibility of a medical center or hospital” in the community, according to P&T, a peer-reviewed journal for managed care and hospital formulary management. In one study cited in the journal, nearly 60 percent of potential patients surveyed indicated social media played a sizable role in the provider selection process. What’s more, these consumers said a hospital’s use of social media alone suggested it was more clinically advanced than the competition.

Still, while leveraging social media is a mainstream tactic in running any modern business, doing so poses numerous hazards, especially in healthcare. First, these tools pose countless risks for violations under federal and state privacy laws — even if they’re unintentional. According to a Journal of the American College of Cardiology study, it “is not uncommon to hear anecdotes about members of the health care team being terminated from their occupation on the basis of misuse of social media.”

“The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which gives patients peace of mind to fully confide in their health care team without consequence, is important to remember when using social media,” the study’s authors wrote. “Many healthcare facilities and organizations have guidelines to help direct the medical community in the proper use of social media.”

Social media also has proven to be an imperfect yardstick when it comes to assessing clinical care. An Indiana University study released in September 2018 suggested there was only a partial relationship between patient feedback aggregated from social media and traditional measures of clinical care such as the federal government’s Hospital Compare website.


“Our results indicate that crowd-sourced ratings reflect measures of quality most easily observed, which is not all that matters in health care,” said Victoria Perez, one of the study’s researchers, in a statement. “While crowd-sourced sites may provide similar information to the government’s patient experience surveys, they are not a substitute for measures of clinical quality or patient safety.”

Taking protective measures

Implementing best practices can help providers limit the risks associated with social media. P&T suggests the following guidelines for keeping hospitals and health systems from running afoul of the law:

  • Removal of identifying information: “Clinical vignettes posted on social media concerning patients must have all personal identifying information and any revealing references removed.”
  • Don’t interact with patients: Healthcare providers “who interact with their patients on social media may be violating the patient-HCP boundary even if patients initiate the online communication.”

Interested in learning more about limiting the risks of social media at your facility? Let’s talk. Many providers consider social media to be a perpetual threat to their businesses, and for good reason: With hospitals today operating on the narrowest of margins, losing even one patient over poor customer service or a bad review is too many. Complicating matters, most healthcare organizations still use traditional surveys to track and monitor patient satisfaction metrics, putting them at a considerable disadvantage in terms of identifying service recovery opportunities.

New York-based Quality Reviews, Inc., provides a buffer for hospitals against social media risks, allowing them to ensure a higher level of service and limiting its impact by making it easy for patients to provide real-time feedback — and even easier for healthcare leaders to improve service based on this feedback. Utilizing real-time feedback, our service recovery and daily performance improvement tools help shift the focus onto the patient and promote a culture of service excellence.

We were founded by leading healthcare providers and entrepreneurs with a combined 30-plus years of clinical, healthcare administrative and technology building experience. Quality Reviews, Inc., builds proprietary software to help healthcare provider organizations capture and analyze real-time patient feedback to facilitate service recovery — and limit social media risks.

Providers: Mind the Gap

Providers: Mind the gap

Bridging the patient communications divide in healthcare

Consumers today can order a new gallon of milk on their phones before the refrigerator door slams shut. Or feast on endless music or movie streaming for less than it costs to buy enough of that milk for a family of four for a month. We’re living in the “golden age of convenience,” says Wired magazine — and it’s just the beginning.

“We’ve got more access to more stuff than ever before, at cheaper prices and ever-more-instant speeds,” the publication recently reported. “And the businesses who hawk us that stuff? They’ve got unprecedented levels of data on us, and they’re using it to target us in ever-more personalized ways.”

That is, unless we’re talking about the U.S. healthcare system, an industry that historically sets a high bar when it comes to clinical care but leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to service and the consumer experience. Unconvinced? Just ask patients: In a July 2018 study, McKinsey & Company offered a blunt assessment of the industry, concluding that “consumers want more from the healthcare industry.” And they’re putting the patient experience near the top of their wish list.

“When survey respondents were asked what would make a healthcare company ‘the best,’ coverage was ranked as most important (23 percent), followed by customer service (11 percent), cost (7 percent), and access (6 percent),” the study’s authors wrote. “Such basic ‘asks’ would be unheard of in most industries.”

Service recovery: Engaging patients directly

In its findings, McKinsey also stressed the importance of engaging directly with patients to bridge this disconnect, just as well-established brands in other sectors of the economy have done for years. With this in mind, many leading hospital executives are looking beyond healthcare for inspiration on how to build trust with patients and inspire brand loyalty.

One such engagement strategy is service recovery. Pioneered by the travel and tourism industry decades ago, the practice means stepping in to address an issue or concern in real time. Often times, patients and their families who are encountering a stressful healthcare situation only want to be heard, and service recovery is a way for providers to engage them directly while attempting to meet their expectations.

Still, many providers don’t know where to start; they lack either the ability to identify customer service needs or they don’t have the right mechanisms in place to take real-time corrective actions — or both. In either case, here’s how providers can start the service recovery feedback loop:

  • Set a goal: What is your organization trying to achieve, e.g., higher volume or better customer satisfaction scores? Identifying the goal will help your team pick the right technology tools or manual processes for achieving the desired result.
  • Pick the right tools: There’s a variety of technology applications and strategies for gathering consumer data, so it’s critical to select the right one for the specific organization.
  • Commit to seeing it through: Continuous improvement should be made a priority once the service recovery feedback loop is operational. Similarly, facilities should have a plan that emphasizes the following five service recovery best practices:
  • Listen
  • Offer a blameless apology
  • Offer to help
  • Follow through
  • Keep it professional

Interested in learning more about bridging the patient-provider communications gap? Let’s talk.

Based in New York City, Quality Reviews, Inc., was founded by leading healthcare providers and entrepreneurs with a combined 30-plus years of clinical, healthcare administrative and technology building experience. We build proprietary software to help healthcare provider organizations capture and analyze real-time patient feedback to facilitate service recovery.

With hospitals today operating on the narrowest of margins, losing even one patient over poor customer service is too many. Complicating matters, most healthcare organizations still use traditional surveys to track and monitor patient satisfaction metrics, putting them at a considerable disadvantage in terms of identifying service recovery opportunities.

We make it easy for patients to provide real-time feedback — and even easier for healthcare leaders to improve service based on this feedback. Utilizing real-time feedback, our service recovery and daily performance improvement tools help shift the focus onto the patient and promote a culture of service excellence.

Service Recovery 101

Healthcare today is evolving into a consumer-focused industry. Many providers are embracing the shift to a retail experience by designing facilities, work flows, and processes around their patients’ specific needs. Download and read more in our latest infographic on Service Recovery:

Measuring the Patient Experience

Providers have a lot riding on HCAHPS scores, but few real-time service recovery tools. Find out how US Hospitals stack up when it comes to HCAHPS star ratings, and the importance of focusing on service recovery to improve scores. Click image below to download our latest infographic: