Quality medical care should be the aim of every medical facility. The health services offered by the facilities should be in tandem with the desired health outcomes. However, recent reports show that there are widespread deficiencies in the services several hospitals offer. This has led to the need for tracking the quality improvement initiatives offered by different hospitals. More challenging is the fact that most managers do not clearly understand the means by which improvement can be effective. Kendall Regional Center faces quality issues like many other hospitals.
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The Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers (HCAHPS) is important since because it makes hospitals have a notable market presence. It also makes sure that hospitals do not lose on reimbursement. Hospitals get penalized if their scores are below the set standard. With increased transparency, hospitals, like many other facilities in other sectors, may see their clientele increase. Patients and their families form a very significant segment of the sector’s stakeholders.
These NCAHPS star ratings constitute a combination of all available star ratings. These ratings represent several distinct areas of patient experience. From this site, one can see how the medical facilities rank.
The infection-control deficiencies can impact negatively on the overall rating of a facility. Most of those deficiencies include failing to regularly pre-clean all the instruments used in operating rooms. Dirty gloves may be mixed with clean ones. In some cases, blood-stained floors are mopped without first of all removing the already cleaned equipment. More seriously, failure to document the cleaning of the instruments as well as employee training have been noted. These deficiencies lead to infections of patients. Several facilities have faced the challenge of patient infection.
Patient experience has been significantly affected by poor communication. Patients are usually kept waiting for long hours without any explanation. Some are even waved off. In most instances, patients have reported that some medical staff addresses them disrespectfully. In many cases, the privacy of the patients has been violated. In cases of medical errors, the patients and their kin are not exactly told what happened. Worse still, most medical centers do not admit liability. Nurses usually ignore patients’ requests( Morrison, 2016). There are also cases where language barriers between the caregivers and the patients interfere with patient experience. This significantly affects the patients’ experience and the overall ratings of most facilities.
Patient data is crucial for effective care. If mishandled, the wrong treatment could be administered. There have been cases of patients whose data is never accurately collected. In other instances, the data may not be keyed in the system at all. Most facilities do enter wrong data, and this makes it difficult for appropriate treatment and care. Clancy (2014) notes that some facilities collect data but fail to act on it.
Most hospitals have failed on HCAHPS scores because they do not have patient experience culture. Hospitals that do not include Positive-Patient experience score lowly. This especially depends on the leadership. Most facilities are rated low because their leadership fails to develop models of accountability that promote particular culture. For example, a culture of service excellence is something that would impact significantly on a facility (Clancy, 2014).
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Quality Improvement Measures
Kendall Regional Medical Center must implement many quality measures to increase its quality scores.
Communicate clearly and effectively
Good communication improves the patient experience. HCAHPS ask various questions related to communication. The questions seek to establish from the patients whether nurses and physicians list pay attention to them. Some questions target the complexity of messages given to the patients. The questions also strive to establish if the hospital staff ever tells them why they are being given particular medicine. The fourth question on communication seeks to establish whether the side effects of the prescribed medicine are ever described to them. Another question tries to find out if the staff ever discussed with them how they are going to help them after leaving hospital. Finally, the patients are asked to confirm receipt of written instructions (Dorrah, 2014).
Hospital staff can employ various communication tools. They are advised to use modes that make the patients not to forget what they are told. This can be achieved by ensuring that the patients receive written instructions. They should also be repeated verbally before patients are given time to ask questions (Clancy, 2014).
Follow-up calls should be verbally conducted after patients leave hospitals. This may also help the patients any questions that may have arisen after discharge. The calls should be for establishing whether instructions are being followed. Besides, they could be for soliciting feedback on their experience. Asking patients to give feedback after discharge makes them feel that the hospital cares about them (Dorrah, 2014).
Collecting and acting on data gathered
For improvement on HCAHPS scores, it is mandatory that data concerning patient experience is collected, analyzed, and acted upon immediately. The HCAHPS are useful because they identify trends as well as problem areas that need early attention. Due to numerous responses from the patients, it is important that a consensus is reached on the patients’ feelings. Again, only specific satisfaction drivers should be targeted. Data emanating from HCAHPS surveys, post-discharge calls, and other tools can go a long way in assisting the hospitals to determine what aspects that are essential for patient experience (Dorrah, 2014).
Merging patient experience with culture
The facility’s leadership should make sure that patient experience is part of its culture. The staff should get adequate training in patient satisfaction strategies (Belasen, Eisenberg & Huppertz, 2016). One strategy would be a patient-centric approach to medical care. The staff should be encouraged to socialize with the patients. The staff should sit next to them instead of standing and giving instructions. By standing, patients feel that as though they are being rushed through the treatment process. Management oversight should strive to address all the issues at the facility including their sanitary practice (McWay, 2015).
Several initiatives seek to improve quality of health centers. They operate at different levels including federal, state, and regional levels. The initiatives need measurement to ensure that opportunities for improvement are seized. Presently, quality measures are being used for payment reforms. Kendall Regional Medical Center has faced most of the challenges discussed. The solutions offered in the discussion can go a long way in improving the hospital’s patient experience.
Barnsteiner, J. H., Disch, J. M., Walton, M. K., & Sigma Theta Tau International,. (2014).Person-and family-centered care. Indianapolis, IN : Sigma Theta Tau International, Honor Society of Nursing.
Belasen, A. T., Eisenberg, B., & Huppertz, J. (2016). Mastering leadership: A vital resource for health care organizations. Burlington, MA : Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Clancy, C.,(2014). Critical conversations: Scripts & techniques for effective interprofessional & patient communication. Indianapolis, IN : Sigma Theta Tau International.
Dorrah, T. E., (2014). Physician’s guide to surviving CGCAHPS and HCAHPS. North Charleston, South Carolina: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
McWay, C., (2015). Legal and ethical aspects of health information management. Clifton Park, New York: Cengage Learning.
Morrison, E. E., (2016). Ethics in health administration: A practical approach for decision makers. Burlington, MA : Jones & Bartlett Learning.