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Saturday, September 02, 2006

Oct. 1: A key date for inpatient surveys

There will be a new name and a new look to Backus Hospital's inpatient surveys starting Oct. 1. The purpose of the surveys remains the same, though: To better understand our patients' perception of their hospital experience, and to use the results to improve.

Starting with the new Fiscal Year, we will switch from Press, Ganey Associates surveys to those designed by the National Research Corporation and the Picker Institute, called NRC+Picker.

Oct. 1 is a very important date in another area of patient surveys, as well: It marks the start of the public survey period for a new national standardized inpatient survey, called HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems).

"Making sure our patients have the best possible hospital experience is why each os us is here," said Keith Fontaine, Vice President, Corporate Communications. "Patient-centered care is not just the job of direct caregivers. We all have important roles to play, because we all share a common purpose: Making Backus a hospital where patients and families know they'll get exceptional care."

We will explore the new inpatient survey and the HCAHPS survey in greater detail in future posts. Here are a few questions and answers you may find helpful at the outset:


  • Why change surveys? We've used Press, Ganey for more than five years.
    The short answer is that the Picker survey aligns much better with the HCAHPS questions, which we are required to include at the start of the survey.
    NRC+Picker attempts to measure the quality of patients' experience, asking the extent to which a relevant behavior or process did or did not occur (always, usually, sometimes or never).
    Press, Ganey attempts to measure patients' satisfaction with the care or service they received on a 1-to-5 scale (very poor, poor, fair, good, very good).
    The new national HCAHPS survey uses the experience approach, arguing that this yields less subjective and more actionable results.

  • Give me an example:
    Press Ganey:
    Nurses’ attitude toward your requests:
    1 -- 2 -- 3 -- 4 -- 5
    (very poor, poor, fair, good, very good)

    HCAHPS / Picker:
    During this hospital stay, how often did the nurses listen carefully to you?
    Never -- Sometimes -- Usually -- Always

  • Is there a Picker survey philosophy?
    The Picker survey is based on eight "dimensions" of patient-centered care -- items that mattered most to patients. These areas were developed by Harvard and NRC researchers, based on focus groups with more than 8,000 patients, and have been adopted by the Institute of Medicine. The dimensions are: Respect, Coordination, Education, Comfort, Emotional Support, Family/Friends, Transition, and Access.

By measuring the frequency of specific behaviors, Picker believes hospitals can more readily know what to act upon to improve the patient experience.

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