In 2014, CMS will add yet another factor into the mix of how your reimbursement payments are determined. That’s when hospital patient satisfaction surveys— known as HCAHPS — will begin to play a role in your bottom line.
Surveying patient satisfaction with health services isn’t new, but HCAHPS — Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems — is the first national effort to collect this information. Once implemented, the survey has three goals: produce comparable data on how patients perceive their care; give hospitals information needed to improve their care quality; and increase transparency surrounding hospital care. Eventually, CMS plans to use this patient satisfaction data to determine the level of reimbursement it will give hospitals for services rendered.
Concern over patient satisfaction has already taken hold in many hospitals. In a recent poll of hospital-based imaging directors and managers on the MarkeTech’s imagePRO panel, roughly 85 percent reported that maintaining or improving patient satisfaction ranks among the top third of their organizational priorities. In addition, 65 percent said hospital administration is committed to making those enhancements happen.
In radiology where providers often have little-to-no direct patient contact, why is it important for you to think about how happy patients are with the services you provide? It turns out, said James Lipcamon, outpatient imaging services manager for East Cooper Medical Center in Mt. Pleasant, SC, patient satisfaction is a big deal for today’s radiologists, both in the hospital and private imaging center setting.
“For any patient coming into a hospital setting or an imaging center, they already expect our competency. That’s not what they’re mainly concerned about; they’re looking for the warm fuzzies,” he said. “And, if you’re in a competitive market, patient satisfaction is critical because word-of-mouth drives a lot of health care business. Someone has a bad experience with you, they’ll tell 10 people. If they have a good one, they’ll tell three or four.”