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Articles & Whitepapers

Articles & Whitepapers

This information is intended to serve as an addendum to The HCAHPS Handbook: Hardwire Your Hospital for Pay-for-Performance Success (Fire Starter Publishing). The information and tactics herein will be further developed, along with other critical insights and recommendations, in the revised and expanded 2013 version of the book to be published in Fall 2013.

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Whether it’s through better communication or simple amenities, even the most optimistic leader at a hospital will tell you there is no perfect path to perfect patient satisfaction. Quint Studer, founder of the Gulf Breeze, Fla.-based Studer Group, a consultancy which partners with healthcare organizations to help them improve HCAHPS scores, says organizations that do best on it put it in the clinical quality realm. Furthermore, he says, they’re consistent.

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Are you feel­ing barraged by the onslaught of information, articles, tools, and tactics that need to be in place if you are to be a winner in this value-based purchasing era? As we know, the value-based purchasing formula is based on an organiza­tion’s process of care (clinical quality) and HCAHPS (patient satisfaction) scores. Combined, these components are the foundation of what is being called the patient experience.

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How to Train Physicians on Patient Experience

Released on December 12, 2012

Not every doctor is a people person. For every physician with a pristine bedside manner, there is one that just doesn't quite connect with his or her patients. And while both doctors may have the same clinical expertise, we know which one is providing a better patient experience.

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Here, three of Studer Group’s emergency department coach experts share best practices related to a key patient safety issue: how to drive effective collaboration between ED physicians and hospitalists. The result? Improved clinical outcomes, more efficient throughput for admitted patients, and higher organizational performance.

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Relationships between hospitals and physicians have grown closer — or rather, more closely aligned — in recent years. The primary impetus for this trend? Reimbursement pressure. Physician fees in many specialties have been reduced, pushing physicians to consider employment or other financial arrangements with hospitals.

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Setting CEO compensation is an intricate dance that’s intertwined with overall hospital performance. Boards want to pay a CEO well enough to ensure that he or she is getting the best possible expertise for a very tough job, and they want to structure the compensation in a way that incentivizes the CEO and everyone who reports to him or her to put in a great performance.

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Quality has always mattered. Delivering top-notch clinical quality day after day, and striving to get better and better at doing so, have always been our industry’s main goals. After all, patient care isn’t just another product or service. We’re talking about saving human lives, and we have a human responsibility to do our best work.

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A common response among healthcare leaders when asked about the impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on their organization isn't too surprising given the growing costs of healthcare: Major changes in healthcare delivery were and are coming, regardless of the Supreme Court's decision.

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Every healthcare organization wants to be high performing. The desire to provide high-quality care to every patient in every department every day in every interaction is woven into our very DNA. And of course, in a Pay for Performance environment, our ability to do so consistently determines our likelihood of survival.

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What is the best way to engage employees? Despite what many leaders may think, this is an issue that has very little to do with high salaries or a lot of perks. Yes, people expect and deserve to be fairly compensated. But what they really want is a well-run organization – one with well-trained leaders who provide clear expectations, treat them as partners, help them acquire the tools they need to meet their goals, and hold them accountable for their performance.

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There is no shortage of bad financial news in health care. But many leaders are so busy wringing their hands over value-based purchasing initiatives that have the potential to hurt reimbursement – not to mention lackluster reports regarding the recovery of our nation’s economy – that they fail to realize there is plenty they can do to shore up their financial big picture.

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As the healthcare industry enters an era of accountable, patient-first care, many hospitals are beginning to focus on patient experience. As a part of this, they are placing great emphasis on conveying compassion. While this can be a great strategy for large urban hospitals and academic medical centers — organizations typically viewed as highly advanced and technically competent, but perhaps a bit impersonal — it could prove a miscalculation for smaller organizations.

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The idea of aligning physicians with hospitals and health systems is not new. In fact, it has been experimented with since the 1990s and the rise of managed care. In many cases those relationships crashed and burned, and the idea of physicians as hospital employees faded. Then, several years ago, the idea resurfaced, in part because of observations that systems with closely aligned and integrated physicians provided some of the best care at some of the lowest costs.

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For many years, employee engagement, especially in healthcare, was considered a "soft" science — something leaders thought about only after addressing the "hard stuff" like volume and reimbursement. Leaders who buy into this mindset, however, fail to realize the impact employee engagement actually has on the hard stuff, says Quint Studer, founder of Studer Group — issues like patient safety, patient perception of care, and as a result, volume and financial performance.

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"Quint is an iconic figure in healthcare and leadership. He has, in practice and theory, helped many CEOs at all sizes of hospitals put [this] concept to work: If you treat the employees as your top priority, everything else will take care of itself. It is amazing to me as a travel[er] in health circles, how many very top leaders in the field attribute the success of their institutions very directly to Quint," says Scott Becker, JD, CPA, partner with McGuireWoods in Chicago and publisher of Becker's Hospital Review.

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As hospitals and health systems across the country work toward coordinated and integrated care, most will need to alter their relationships with physicians. How a health system aligns its priorities with physicians is critical. That's because physicians have such an impact on cost and quality of care — both of which are the key goals of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

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Doctors have long been susceptible to burnout. Like most people who choose healthcare as a profession, these men and women are deeply committed to making a difference in the lives of patients. Combine this passion for serving others with their "driven" personality types—which provides the energy and determination that gets them through their training in the first place—and it's no wonder so many doctors push themselves to unsustainable levels of performance...

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As our industry moves toward an era of interconnectivity, hospitals and healthcare systems continue to expand their health information capabilities. Those that have not yet installed an electronic medical record system are making plans to do so, and those that are already "wired" are working to uncover new and innovative ways to mine data and inform clinical decision-making.

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When a woman died in the ED lobby of a Los Angeles hospital several years ago because she could not obtain timely care, it made national news. On that day, Americans around the country wondered how this could happen in the US health care system today. They wondered if it could happen to them. Full article available for purchase on www.jenonline.org.

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