Measuring the Patient Experience

Here’s What HCAHPS Scores Really Look Like — How Does Your Hospital Stack Up?

Hospitals have a lot riding on HCAHPS scores. Used by providers since 2006, the HCAHPS survey allows patients to rate hospitals on a wide range of issues like clinician communication, pain management, discharge information, and hospital cleanliness. These publicly available survey scores can impact hospitals in a big way, either positively or negatively, depending on the results. High scores mean happy patients and financial incentives. Bad scores mean unhappy patients and lower revenue — on top of the laundry list of underlying problems that are probably causing low scores in the first place, such as poor staff communication, disengaged employees, and inefficient operations.

While all hospitals would like five-star ratings across the board, the reality is, very few fall into that category. Most providers sit somewhere in the middle of the pack. Read on below to see how different hospitals around the U.S. score on HCAHPS so you can compare them to your organization’s — and learn how service recovery can help you take your HCAHPS scores to new heights.

HCAHPS Scores: How Patients Rate Hospitals in the U.S.

With HCAHPS’ star-rating system, hospitals receive overall scores of one to five stars, with one being the lowest rating and five being the highest. In the most recent survey, the average overall score was about 2.71 stars, with 213 hospitals (about 6%) receiving a score of one star, 1,177 hospitals (about 34%) receiving a score of two stars, 1,522 hospitals (about 44%) receiving a score of three stars, 495 hospitals (about 14%) receiving a score of four stars, and just 59 hospitals (about 2%) receiving a score of five stars.
















HCAHPS Star Ratings: Distributions

Within these overall scores, you can also find breakdowns on how different hospitals performed on each metric measured by the HCAHPS survey. Some of the highest scores on average were communication with nurses, discharge info, and hospital ratings. Some of the lowest, on the other hand, were cleanliness, communication about medicines, and quietness.
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Responsiveness of Hospital Staf

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Hospital Rating

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Communication with Doctors

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Cleanliness of Hospital Environment

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Quietness of Hospital Environment

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Communication about Medicines

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Discharge Information

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Care Transition

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Communication with Nurses

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Pain Management

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Recommend the Hospital

Improving HCAHPS Scores

While it’s certainly not a good feeling to be disappointed by your HCAHPS scores, you can always take steps to improve them the next time around. Look through your HCAHPS report to identify any weak areas you have, and discuss how you might be able to improve things with both departmental leaders and frontline staff. If you receive poor marks on communication with doctors and nurses, for example, you might consider holding training sessions on bedside manner and patient interaction; if patients are dissatisfied with the cleanliness of your facility, you could discuss hiring additional custodial staff.

Of course, even after addressing these issues, you’ll still have to deal with mistakes and unhappy patients every once in a while — it’s impossible to be perfect all of the time. Fortunately, implementing a service recovery strategy where you reach out to disgruntled patients and address their concerns head-on can greatly reduce the risk of poor reviews. Patients who receive an apology and resolution for their complaints are much less likely to rate hospitals negatively.

For this to be effective, however, you’ll need to be able to take action as soon as an incident occurs. That’s why we’ve built Q-Rounding, a feedbackplatform that allows you to keep a pulse on patient sentiment and intervene when needed. Q-Rounding processes patient feedback in real time and alerts you to situations in urgent need of attention so that you can step in and make things right with a patient before they leave a negative review. You can learn more about our solutions here.

There’s no instant fix for lower-than-desired HCAHPS scores — if there was, everybody would be doing it. But with a commitment to change and a solid service recovery strategy in place, you can significantly increase your odds of high ratings, and all the benefits that come with it.

Interested in learning more? Let’s talk.

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. Reach out to learn more about our proprietary software that helps healthcare organizations capture and analyze real-time patient feedback to facilitate service recovery.

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