A hospital is one of the few places where the customer isn’t always right. The doctor is; or at least, was. The healthcare industry is becoming more patient-focused, and it is to the point where hospitals that do not please their patients will not be successful for very long, if it all. Patients were delivered a very strong voice through the HCAHPS survey – Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems.
HCAHPS scores do have an effect. People now have the ability to compare hospital scores against the national average and other hospitals, as part of choosing a provider. Even further, by 2017, 2% of Medicare reimbursement dollars will be directly tied to a hospital’s HCAHPS performance. The simple fact is that patient engagement, or lack thereof, will have a direct impact on your hospital’s wallet, and if you don’t reach patients on their mobile devices, you will not engage them near as well as you should.
Communication is Key
Communication with the patient is one of the most important areas of HCHAPS. Of the 10 reported HCAHPS measures, three are directly communication based (with doctors, with nurses & about medicine). So, how hospitals interact with their patients will count for 1/3 of their entire performance. Yet, communication is an easy problem to fix. It requires reaching the patient in the most efficient way possible which, in today’s world, means their mobile devices. 58% of Americans already have smartphones. From patients to doctors, nurses to janitors, they have them, and they use them. A simple mobile app can reach all these people with ease, and set any hospital on a path towards HCAHPS success.
Improve Scores on HCAHPS with Health Apps
A mobile app can easily facilitate constant engagement and communication between hospital staff and patients. Push notifications and chat functions can connect patient and doctor, while providing resources for the patient to access hospital and medication information. Streaming ER wait times and maps/directions for the nearest in-network facilities can help patients choose the most accessible and affordable care options. Patient knowledge of their medication is the second-lowest scoring area of patient satisfaction on HCAHPS, and providing that resource to patients can help increase their satisfaction with little effort.
An engaging health app can do more for the hospital than just inform and communicate though, and it can help in many areas reflected on HCAHPS. Hospital noise was the most common complaint according the survey. While an app won’t make the hectic atmosphere any quieter, it can provide means to cancel out and distract from the noise, as some hospitals have already noticed. The WFBH Comprehensive Cancer Center app includes a music feature to soothe patients during treatment, and provide them a welcome escape from the noisy hospital atmosphere. Any sort of entertaining feature, especially those that involve gamification, can help raise patient morale. Logic would clearly suggest if patients are happier, a hospital’s HCAHPS score will be higher.
An Investment, Not an Expense
Hospitals are generally not the happiest place for patients. Fair or not, this can easily translate to the survey and cost your hospital significant dollars. Providing your staff and patients with a mobile app can not only serve to boost patient satisfaction, it can improve brand awareness for your hospital. An app can be costly, but hospitals can ill-afford to ignore such an effective means of reaching patients. MobileSmith has provided hospitals a guide to creating easy, and award-winning engagement apps, without any coding, and for significant savings. Improving your hospital’s performance on HCAHPS with health apps is easy, and in today’s health world, it is becoming essential. Communication, information and entertainment are the keys to engaging your patients, and maximizing your revenue.