Health care quality organizations are hopeful that the new presidential administration will support much-needed advancements in the health care quality arena. In a blog post directed toward the incoming administration, the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) made known its four main objectives for the future of health care quality: enabling a digital quality system, urgently advancing health equity, measuring patient experience digitally, and strengthening Medicare value-based programs.1
Running parallel to these objectives is a demand among health care systems and organizations for concrete data that demonstrates that strategic implementations of health information technology have the power to positively transform Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) survey scores and Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) star ratings. As the patient experience model becomes more central, and reimbursements become increasingly tied to hospital and health system performance on these measures, the need to implement high yield health IT to positively impact patient experience and scores is paramount.
Krames is committed to tackling this challenge head-on. After a comprehensive review of research that has aimed to quantify health IT innovations and their impact on CAHPS and HCAHPS scores, one theme shines bright. Rather than lead with comprehensive and costly tech investments that are unproven in driving up scores and reimbursements, health organizations should first identify pain points within their workflows, and then seek out the health IT that can solve the problem.
Our whitepaper evaluates the effectiveness of various health IT implementations and identifies areas in which leaders may be wise to focus their energies. As a preview, here are two historic pain points where hospital systems and organizations were wise to focus their health IT investments, leading to demonstrably positive impacts on quality scores.
Step 1: Renovate the rounding process
Hospital rounding is one of the most cumbersome processes in inpatient care. Though it is a necessary means of tracking patient progress and intervening promptly, rounding negatively affects satisfaction levels for both providers and patients. Telerounding via videoconferencing can successfully replace or augment serial in-person rounding. The video conference model can increase efficiency and enhance the quality of patient-provider interaction time.2 In a recent study, top box HCAHPS scores for patients responding to how often they felt doctors treated them with courtesy and respect were nearly 20% higher in a telerounding group compared to the control. Patients who participated in telerounding were also 27% more likely to rate the hospital as a 10/10, and they were 13% more likely to definitely recommend the hospital’s services to their social circles.
Step 2: Disrupt the discharge process
The communication difficulties that occur during patient discharge from an inpatient or outpatient setting are profound. Researchers estimate that 32% of patients may hesitate to tell their providers that they do not understand their instructions. 3 And, even if they do fully understand the instructions, this comprehension is fleeting; patients may only remember 49% of discharge instructions accurately one week later. 4 These sobering statistics can have lasting negative impacts and drive hospital readmissions. 5 Nimble health leaders have recognized this challenge and combatted it with a focused health IT implementation of post-discharge video calls. Within one organization, patients who received a video call following discharge rated their overall experience of the hospital 25% higher than those who did not receive any discharge communication.
For a more in-depth examination of health IT’s capability to positively impact quality evaluation scores, download our whitepaper.
Copyright © 2021 Krames LLC. except where otherwise noted.
1 Brock, Matt. New President, New Opportunities: A Memo to President-Elect Biden. NCQA Blog. https://blog.ncqa.org/new-president-new-opportunities-a-memo-to-president-elect-biden/. Published January 14, 2021. Accessed February 20, 2021.
2 Schwartz A, Chan F, Levy B, Tapada S, Schwechter E. Telerounding Offers High Patient Satisfaction After Total Joint Arthroplasty. HSS Journal. November 6, 2020. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7646716/. Accessed February 20, 2021.
3 Levy A, Scherer A, Zikmund-Fisher J, et al. Prevalence of and factors associated with patient nondisclosure of medically relevant information to clinicians. JAMA Network Open. November 30, 2018. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2716996. Accessed February 21, 2021.
4 Laws M, Lee Y, Taubin T, Rogers W, Wilson I. Factors associated with patient recall of key information in ambulatory specialty care visits: Results of an innovative methodology. PLoS ONE. February 1, 2018. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0191940#abstract0. Accessed February 20, 2021.
5 Kemp K. Hude Q, Santana M. Lack of patient involvement in care decisions and not receiving written discharge instructions are associated with unplanned readmissions up to one year. Patient Experience Journal. July 2017.