Now, you can not only rate the hospitals that you have been treated in, but also the federal government insists that hospitals give you the opportunity to do so.

Hospitals are rated by patients in the federally mandated HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) survey.  Ratings are not only viewed by perspective patients to decide on which hospital to be treated at, but also affects reimbursement by CMS. (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services).

But can you really rely on these ratings?

Are these ratings accurate?  According to a Gallup World Poll, patients have “more positive feelings” regarding their hospital stay when their health is improved and they feel better.

Results of the Gallup Poll

High scores of 9 or 10 were given to hospitals:

  • Only 59% of the time by patients in poor health
  • 64% by patients who deemed their health to be only fair
  • 82% of the time by patients who felt that their health was excellent or vastly improved.

Findings infer that for the segment of patients considering themselves in poor health which represents a quarter of those surveyed, hospitals can improve their outlook and health perception to increase their rating score.

Two ways to improve ratings

1) Sentiment analysis software

  •      Identifies the patients, locations and types of treatment that produced a specific type of emotion- medicaments ventolin positive or negative.
  •      Evaluates the patients’ emotional state when filling out the satisfaction surveys

2) Patient Advocates

  •         These are people who “smooth out the ruffles”.  They investigate any issues that patients have and rectify them so that the patients are satisfied with all aspects of their service and care at the time of discharge.
  •         Unlike privately hired patient advocates who represent the patient directly to help integrate care among specialists and help the patient understand healthcare options to select the optimal treatment, patient advocates in the hospital are essentially hospital employees.  This means that they are representing the hospital’s interests and questions regarding options and care will be affected in terms of communication when patients do not understand the advocate’s stance.  As patient satisfaction becomes more important (monetarily) and ratings are more pervasive, there will be a vast jump in the number of patient advocates hired by hospitals.
  •         Patients who have been pinpointed in the hospital with negative emotions can be “helped” prior to satisfaction surveys

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