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It’s Time to Operate (on your Talent Strategy): How HR Can Improve HCAHPS Scores & Readmissions

Are you exhausted from not having the answers to the following questions? Do HCAHPS scores drive readmissions? Or do readmissions drive HCAHPS scores? Wonder no longer – we have uncovered the answers. And, with the results from the research we conducted, you will be able to identify and address barriers to good performance and significantly improve HCAHPS scores, clinical process compliance, and readmission rates.

We performed an analysis of four years of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) data at more than 3,000 healthcare facilities, which brought together multiple data points including HCAHPS scores, clinical care processes, and readmissions, as well as controls for hospital demographics (location and size). This study represents the most comprehensive analysis of CMS data us­ing advanced, cause-effect analytic techniques and conclusively determines which factors most affect patient care and satisfaction.

The study revealed that the five key drivers found to directly impact outcomes critical to hospi­tal performance and reimbursements, in order, are as follows. It’s important for you to note that, counter to some prevailing wisdom, physician communication with patients is not a key driver of overall HCAHPS.

  1. Communication between nurses and patients
  2. Pain management
  3. Medication and discharge instructions
  4. How quiet the patient care area is
  5. How clean the patient care area is

Now, it’s time for you to roll up your sleeves and start operating. No scalpel or forceps needed. Based on the evidence presented in this research, you can enhance and refine your talent strategies to create an effective hiring process that accurately assesses the skills that will drive HCAHPS.

Hiring: There is a clear business case to be made for developing a comprehensive hiring process for all patient-facing employees and leaders.

Employee Surveys: Leaders have a unique opportunity to establish a competitive advantage by using the same cause-effect approach in linking employee engagement survey results directly to their HCAHPS scores.

Competency Models: This analytics tool also provides leaders a platform to build compe­tency models for managers and staff to improve HCAHPS scores.

360 Assessments: Similar to employee surveys, 360 assessments that rate competencies and behaviors are an effective way to uncover the specific, local behaviors that directly affect HCAHPS rankings, with key behavior ratings directly linked to HCAHPS scores and the ability to gauge which actions will have the greatest impact.

Leadership Development: Programs that focus directly on interpersonal skills allow healthcare leaders to leverage evidence demonstrating the business case for commu­nications as a cause-effect driver of HCAHPS, Clinical Care Processes compliance, and readmission rates.

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