Patient Experience Journey Lacks Defined Direction

Michael Zeis, for HealthLeaders Media , August 22, 2012

Whether they can count it or not, 85% of respondents say they have invested additional time and resources in the past 12 months to improve patient experience scores. Training and other staff-awareness activities were mentioned frequently. Some have contracted with third-party consultants to help the staff become more patient-centric. Others have added staff with specific patient-experience responsibilities. Several respondents mentioned that they are investing in staff incentives for good performance.

Motivated by money?
Only one-third of respondents (33%) say it is very important to tie compensation to patient experience measurements. Says Permut, an advisor for this report, "When you look at how important patient experience is going forward, I would have expected a higher percentage. At Provena Health, we have made patient experience a bonus opportunity for physicians. People are tracking both clinical quality and service quality, and it's intuitive to tie compensation to both."

Permut also reminds physicians that soon patients will be rating them the way they rate hospitals now. "In January 2013, there will be Physician Compare. This will be the first publicly reported data on physicians, which I expect to be somewhat similar to Hospital Compare."

Patient Experience and HCAHPS—Little Consensus on a Top Priority
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CaroMont's Luckett, the lead advisor for the Intelligence Report, credits a change in incentives at his facility to a single-year turnaround of hospitalist alignment toward the patient experience goal. There are two levels in bonus compensation, he says: One level is meeting the goal, one level is exceeding the goal. At CaroMont, the patient-experience performance bonus is based on group performance rather than individual performance. This year, the group-based tie-in is being tested with leadership in several additional departments.

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