The Power of One, Applied to HCAHPS
How One Hospital Focuses On HCAHPS and Patient Experience, Even in the Face Of Disaster
By Gwen Faust, RN, MS, Consultant (HCAHPs and other Surveys), HealthStream
I have the privilege of working with Freeman Hospital in Joplin, Mo. If you recall, the Joplin community suffered great loss due to the tornadoes in spring of 2011. The other hospital in the community is still closed, resulting in Freeman Hospital serving the entire community. Daily, they experience an average of 50 holds in the ED, with every inpatient bed fully utilized. And, the number of patients seen in the Emergency Department with Psychiatric issues has increased exponentially. Beyond these daily stressors, many members of the staff of Freeman Hospital live in the community they serve and are the same people still suffering the effects of the 2011 devastation.
Disaster Doesn’t Make HCAHPS Disappear
So what does a hospital like Freeman do in light of natural disasters, utilization beyond capacity, and HCAHPS and Value Based Purchasing? What can we expect of a staff experiencing such professional and personal stressful overload? Freeman chose to continue striving to improve their patients’ experience of care. As their HealthStream consultant, I went onsite this fall and presented an HCAHPS Improvement Strategies session for their managers and directors. Several weeks later I spoke with several of their nursing leaders about how to work with staff that was so stressed out emotionally and physically. How far could they push? How much more could they expect of them?
We talked about the need to move the patients scoring us Usuallys to Always and those scoring us 8s to 9s or 10s. A member of the Measurement Team noted that it was a matter of making that kind of difference for only 8 to 10 patients each month. That seemed doable and we began to brainstorm “The Power of One.” Here are some of the ideas with which we came up. Please take these to your staff and discuss the Power of One. I would like to hear about their reactions and the suggestions they come up with. Staff always have the greatest ideas.
One Way to Think About Improving Patient Experiences
To Focus on “The Power of One,” here is the question we asked:
Q. What would the collective impact be if....One More Person each day or if a department/unit focused on one additional strategy
What if they....
– "Mr. Smith, what would make a difference for you during this stay?"
– "Mrs. Jones, what is most important to you today?"
Introduced themselves at the beginning of shift
Said goodbye to a patient and introduced the next staff person who will be caring for them
Participated fully in Hourly Rounding as intended
Rounded on a patient one more time
Spoke with one more patient or family member
Discussed medication side effects one more time with patients
Addressed one more patient’s fears
Checked on the effectiveness of pain medication
Explained to a patient what they were there to do or for what time their test was scheduled
Wore a smile and was glad to have the opportunity to serve others
For Freeman Hospital, looking at little things that could make a big difference for their patients was the answer. Since that discussion with Freeman leaders, I have shared this concept with other clients and they too are excited about the possibilities and power of one.
Learn here about HealthStream’s Patient Insights/HCAHPS Solution.
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