By now, most professionals working in the hospital industry have heard the acronym HCAHPS (hospital consumer assessment of healthcare providers and systems). This 27-item patient satisfaction survey acts as a hospital “report card,” assessing everything from the cleanliness of the hospital rooms to pain relief during the hospital stay. It is sent randomly to adult medical, surgical, and maternity care patients between two days and six weeks following discharge.

Why HCAHPS Matters

Data from HCAHPS is released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) each quarter. Consumers can access HCAHPS performance on the Hospital Compare website to “shop” facilities in their area. HCAHPS data is also used to generate a one to five star rating for each hospital, which became publicly available on Hospital Compare earlier this year. And since 2013, HCAHPS performance has also been tied to 30% of the total performance score that Hospital Value-Based Purchasing (hospital VBP) CMS reimbursement is based on.

How Does Patient Education Impact HCAHPS?

There are five questions on the assessment that are directly linked to effective patient education:

  1. Medication adherence. “When I left the hospital, I clearly understood the purpose for taking each of my medications.”
  2. Understanding of Medication Usage. “When giving you any new medicine, how often did staff tell you what the medicine was for?”
  3. Self-care skills. “When I left the hospital, I had a good understanding of the things I was responsible for in managing my health.”
  4. Preparation for at-home care. “During this hospital stay, did doctors, nurses or other hospital staff talk with you about whether you would have the help you needed when you left the hospital?”
  5. Reference material to prevent problems at home. “During this hospital stay, did you get information in writing about what symptoms or health problems to look out for after you left the hospital?”

In addition, responses to other patient satisfaction measures on the assessment, such as “Did your doctor/nurse explain things in a way you could understand?” and “How would you rate this hospital?” may be positively influenced by engaging, high quality patient education.

The Wellness Network offers a comprehensive suite of products to help hospitals score well on these important HCAHPS measures. From self-care skill and medicine management video education at the patient bedside, we offer a complete solution for your patient education needs. To learn more, contact Customer Care at 888-219-4678 or email us at

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