If you plan on being responsible for patient satisfaction in a hospital setting, you will need to learn in detail what a HCAHPS is so that you can measure satisfaction and address various issues occurring within the facility. HCAHPS stands for Hospital Consumer Assessment of Health Plans Survey and is often more commonly referred to as the Hospital CAHPS. If you are interested in learning more about this standardized survey instrument and how it is becoming an important instrument to collect information on patient satisfaction and patient opinions, read on and find out why this survey has become popular on a national level.

What Is Included in the HCAHPS?

When a hospital cares for a patient, there may not be time for the patient to address concerns that they have about their care with their nurse or even with their physician. While the role of a patient advocate can help with a patients comfort during a hospital stay, it's a given that during an emotional experience, it is also uncommon for a patient to complain about what may seem like minor issues. This is why the HCAHPS standardized survey has become such a valuable tool. For patients who do not like confrontation and those who did not have time to voice their concerns or compliment their nurses, the survey becomes a great platform. The survey is shaped by three broad goals that are relevant in any hospital facility. The three goals of the survey include: creating incentives to improve the quality of care, producing comparable data on patient's perspectives, and increasing transparency within healthcare to make the public more accountable.

To achieve the three broad goals, the HCAHPS contains 21 different questions that cover different patient perspectives on care within 9 different important topic areas. The most important topics that are covered in this survey include: quietness of the environment, transition of care, cleanliness, discharge information given, pain management, responsiveness of staff, communication with nursing staff, communication with physicians and communication about medications. The results of each survey that is submitted will help healthcare administrators in hospitals improve service within the 9 key areas covered as individual topics.

How Do Hospitals Participate in Reporting and Review HCAHPS Data?

If the hospital setting that you want to work in participates in the HCAHPS Data Collection and Public Reporting system or in self-administering of the survey, you will need to meet the program requirements that are set by the HCAHPS Quality Assurance Guidelines. All hospitals must send in a participation form to the official project team. Once reviewed, the hospital is granted membership to participate and start reviewing the results that have been gathered by unanimous surveys. The hospital will then be set up in the CAHPS system, where patients will have the option to complete the survey by mail, telephone, or Interactive Voice Response.

The HCAHPS makes quality assurance practices much easier and the ability to improve areas of patient care more prevalent. If you are going to enter the world of hospital management or administration, learning more about the assessment and the systems that they assessment can be given on is imperative. Learn about all of the training materials that are available to you, sign up for training before the deadlines for training registration closes, and learn about how the survey is expected to change in the future. Once you do this, you will be an expert in the HCAHPS.