HCAHPS Surveys were initiated to gauge the performance of hospitals and other healthcare centers. The information derived from these surveys would then be used to attach a rating to the hospital in question. This rating would then determine the bonus that hospital received or the amount originally withheld that would be paid to the hospital. Let us take a look at the effect that this survey has had on hospitals, patients and hospital employees.
Naturally, with financial incentive on the line, the HCAHPS is creating an environment that is perhaps dangerous in the grand scheme of things. There are many flaws in this survey system too; what about a hospital that is noisy simply because it is a big-city hospital? It would get a lower rating despite being able to provide better services.
Similarly, there are flaws when it comes to gaining insight from the patients. When a survey relies on patient feedback, it must also consider the fact that the patient response could also be biased or uninformed or ineffective due to a number of reasons. For example, let us consider responses that focus on superficial things rather than healthcare. A lot of the responses seem to confuse quality care with unrelated and irrelevant amenities. Rather than answering about medication and doctor’s services, a lot of responses seem to care too much about the quality of lunch being provided. Naturally, these answers that focus on irrelevant aspects will lower the rating of an otherwise great facility.
Naturally, with such responses, the hospitals are also more likely to focus on superficial things. They would want to cater to the needs that are most talked about in the survey, even if they are not relevant to the HealthCare facilities being provided. When this trend catches on, the healthcare quality will be in a downward spiral. Therefore, this survey can have harmful effects on the overall quality of the health care as well.
Thirdly, we have the healthcare employees who are also greatly affected by this survey. Since it is all about the patients’ satisfaction, the performance of professionals such as doctors and nurses is increasingly being seen from the paradigm of marketing. The hospital administrations are forcing them to polish their ‘customer-service’ skills so that the ‘customers’ leave the hospital happier and thus give it a better ranking. This materialistic approach may lead to the overshadowing of skills that actually matter and are relevant to healthcare. A nurse may spend lesser time on learning about medication and more time over the art of small talk.
In a similar manner, the performance of doctors is also effected. A doctor’s job requires some tough decisions, including asking personal questions and discussing other difficult topics. The problem with such a situation is that it could easily anger the patient. Such actions will lead to dissatisfaction which will naturally translate into a poor score. Once again, the patients’judgment will be clouded while answering the questions in the survey which will lead to unfair depiction of the hospital’s performance.
Naturally, with the changing times, the job descriptions across industries is also changing. The global business environment is undergoing a massive shift and no job is protected from it. In case of the healthcare industry, the professionals must not only effectively treat the patients but must also ensure that the patients are in fact happy. Everyone, from nurses to doctors, must make patients’ happiness the primary goal. In this regard, Online nursing degree from Rivier University will be ultimately helpful in achieving both the goals. The degree prepares professionals for the future!