HCAHPS scores are well known in the healthcare world. They are an extremely important, publicly available measure of a patient’s experience in the hospital. They also can be difficult to improve overnight, however one simple adjustment can make a significant difference.
Why are HCAHPS Scores Important?
A Hospital’s performance on post-discharge HCAHPS surveys (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) can make or break their year financially.
These questionnaires are given to every discharged patient and their family and are intended to measure their satisfaction with their experience at the hospital.
Poor performance can lead to hospitals losing a portion of their government funded Medicare reimbursement.
They can also lead to empty hospital beds as HCAHPS Scores are publicly available and are often used by families to make the important decision of who to trust with their healthcare needs.
These surveys are the industry standard for hospital measurement, and have far reaching implications.
What do HCAHPS Surveys Measure?
The criteria within the HCAHPS survey can be boiled down to two distinct categories: behavioral and environmental.
Survey questions like “How often did nurses communicate well with patients” or “How often did patients receive help quickly from hospital staff” are examples of behavioral HCAHPS criteria.
While these behavioral criteria make up the majority of the survey and are massively important to the success of a hospital, they also tend to be difficult to improve without making sweeping changes to standard hospital staffing and healthcare processes, which isn’t always immediately possible.
On the other hand, questions like “How often was the area around your room quiet at night” and “How do patients rate the hospital” are environmental in nature and are consistently scored the lowest by patients.
How can HCAHPS Scores be Improved?
According to a white paper published by Cambridge Sound Management, across three randomly selected hospitals, the “Quiet at Night” criteria was scored, at best, 11 percentage points lower than the next lowest performing criteria.
This problem is widespread, and you can check your HCAHPS scores online at medicare.com/hospitalcompare. If your Quiet at Night rating falls below the 50th percentile, you could be liable to see a reduction in your Medicare reimbursement.
The good news? Improving room quietness and overall hospital rating can be achieved with little time, effort, or financial investment with the help of simple sound control solutions.
Sound Masking, for example, is one of the most effective tools for improving privacy, reducing distractions, and enhancing patient comfort in healthcare facilities. It can often be implemented for as little as $2 per square foot.
What is Sound Masking and Why is it Important in Healthcare?
Sound Masking works by filling a room with unobtrusive ambient noise. Most people won’t even notice it’s there, however it can be extremely effective at obscuring the sounds that fill waiting areas, hallways, and adjacent patient rooms.
It makes sensitive speech between patients and doctors unintelligible, ensuring sensitive conversations remain private, and allowing patients to rest without interruption.
Less distractions begets better sleep, which leads to better patient experiences, better patient outcomes, and better HCAHPS scores.
In areas where space is limited and patients are forced to share rooms, the lack of noise control can create costly HIPAA violations, not to mention uncomfortable patients that feel their privacy has been violated.
Hospitals and healthcare facilities have a duty to their clients to create an environment that promotes healing and protects their privacy.
According to Healthdesign.org, the lack of acoustic control in healing environments can have a profoundly negative effect on patient outcomes. From lack of sleep, to elevated blood pressure, to higher stress levels and emotional burnout, unmitigated noise can have serious implications.
How can I get Sound Masking in my Building?
Sound Masking is a relatively inexpensive sound control solution; however, it must be installed strategically to deliver the desired effect.
The Gaus Acoustics team offers free consultations to clients located in the Midwestern region to ensure that you receive the expertise necessary for successful implementation.
Cambridge Sound Management is the leading manufacturer of Sound Masking equipment and sells regionally through carefully selected representatives like Gaus Acoustics, who are specifically trained on Sound Masking implementation and interior acoustic design.
If Sound Masking sounds like a good solution for your noise problem, click on the link below to get in touch with our team of experts!