866-366-1500 Info@OptimaCompanies.com
Follow us

Improving HCAHPS in Your Hospital: Five Simple Ways

In light of the current state of the healthcare system, the emphasis on enhancing HCAHPS scores has never been more crucial. There's likely pressure from your supervisor or your hospital's quality department to enhance your unit's ratings. While prioritizing patient satisfaction may necessitate some cultural adjustments and patience, there are resources available to assist you.

One effective tool for elevating HCAHPS scores is a whiteboard. Whiteboards offer versatility and can be utilized in various ways to enhance patient care and contentment. Physical aids like whiteboards contribute to success by serving as visual prompts, which are 20% more impactful than auditory cues.

Continue reading to discover five strategies for utilizing whiteboards to enhance your unit's HCAHPS scores.

What is HCAHPS?

HCAHPS, short for Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, serves as a metric for gauging patient satisfaction concerning hospital care. These scores hold significant importance as they can impact a hospital's reputation and financial standing.

This survey serves as a vital tool in evaluating patients' experiences within a hospital setting. HCAHPS is nationally standardized and publicly accessible across the United States, comprising 29 questions directed at patients post-discharge.

The survey encompasses various categories of inquiries, including communication with medical staff, medication information, responsiveness of hospital personnel, discharge guidance, comprehension of post-hospital care, cleanliness, and noise levels within the hospital environment, overall hospital rating, and likelihood of recommending the hospital.

Publicly available results from this survey allow anyone to access and review scores for specific medical facilities through platforms like Hospital Compare. These scores play a role in determining Medicare payments to hospitals, incentivizing establishments to deliver higher-quality care.

Below are five approaches to leveraging a whiteboard to enhance your unit's HCAHPS scores:

1. Use Whiteboards to Display Patient Care Plans

Hospitals have the option to utilize whiteboards as a means to exhibit care plans for patients. This practice fosters a sense of involvement and empowerment among patients, potentially reducing instances of miscommunication between them and the healthcare team. When patients comprehend their care plans, satisfaction levels tend to rise, correlating with improved outcomes.

According to a study conducted by Carleene Bañez et al. in 2021, it was found that 80% of patients and their families actively consulted whiteboards for pertinent information. Specifically, details regarding the care plan were deemed particularly valuable by patients and their families.

2. Use Whiteboards to Explain Procedures and Treatments to Patients

This approach can alleviate anxiety and stress for patients who might be uncertain about what lies ahead. When patients have a clear understanding of the situation and its rationale, they tend to feel more content with their treatment.

Utilizing a magnetic whiteboard allows for the presentation of procedure diagrams, FAQs, and anticipated experiences for the patient. This proactive measure helps to alleviate any potential confusion that patients may encounter before or during their treatment.

Providing education to patients serves to diminish uncertainty and anxiety, ultimately enhancing overall satisfaction. Andrew A. Brooks, MD, the Chief Medical Officer of TigerConnect, advocates for a communication-focused strategy, particularly through the use of whiteboards, to improve HCAHPS scores. In an article featured by Becker’s Healthcare, he emphasizes the importance of educating patients during care transitions, stating that hospitals can effectively achieve this through written instructions displayed on a whiteboard within the patient's view.

3. Use Whiteboards to Introduce Care Team Members

Hospitals can use whiteboards to introduce care team members to patients. This can help patients feel more comfortable and familiar with the people who are taking care of them. It can also help patients feel like they are part of a team, working together towards a common goal.

In 2019, Kramer Wahlberg, Shea Lambirth, and Zechariah Gardner performed a study on improving physician identification and overall patient satisfaction using visual aids and whiteboards. They discovered that 68% of the patients who had the attending name displayed on a whiteboard in their room were able to correctly identify the attending physician. Utilizing a whiteboard can directly affect your “Communication with doctors” scores.

4. Use Whiteboards to Track Patient Progress

Hospitals have the option to utilize whiteboards for tracking patient progress and milestones. This practice serves to inspire and motivate patients by allowing them to visually witness their advancements over time. Additionally, it aids care teams in maintaining focus and ensuring that patients receive the necessary care.

In a 2015 study titled "Does Monitoring Goal Progress Promote Goal Attainment? A Meta-Analysis of the Experimental Evidence" conducted by Benjamin Harkin, PhD, from the University of Sheffield, it was highlighted that monitoring progress is crucial for effectively pursuing goals. The study also indicated that tracking progress increases the likelihood of behavior change and goal achievement.

Employing a large, visual method for monitoring patient progress facilitates the attainment of health objectives, thereby enhancing the probability of positive outcomes.

5. Solicit Feedback with Whiteboards

Hospitals have the option to utilize whiteboards as a platform for gathering feedback from patients. This proactive approach aids hospitals in pinpointing areas that require enhancement and implementing changes to elevate patient satisfaction levels. When patients perceive that their opinions are acknowledged and valued, they are more inclined to feel content with their care.

Rather than awaiting the completion of HCAHPS surveys post-discharge, hospitals can prompt instant feedback through a whiteboard system. Patients can be informed about the feedback submission process and how their input will be utilized. Prompt implementation of suggested changes can potentially lead to improved scores on patient satisfaction inquiries for the unit.

Key Takeaways

Whiteboards represent a potent resource for enhancing HCAHPS scores. Through the utilization of whiteboards to exhibit care plans, elucidate procedures, introduce care team members, monitor progress, and seek feedback, hospitals can bolster patient satisfaction and ultimately improve outcomes. Even minor adjustments such as these can yield significant positive impacts on the well-being of patients within hospital settings. 

Why Choose OptiMA?

We are a small business making our products in the USA. We specialize in dry erase boards, dry erase wallcoverings, portable dry erase units, high-quality custom printed whiteboards, fast shipping, and five-star customer service. Over the last three decades, we’ve worked hard to deliver industrial quality whiteboard solutions that won’t break customers’ budgets.

  1. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: CAHPS Adult Hospital Survey
  2. American Psychological Association: Frequently Monitoring Progress Toward Goals Increases Chance of Success
  3. Becker’s Healthcare: Going from Good to Great Care — 5 Ways to Boost HCAHPS Scores
  4. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services: HCAHPS: Patients’ Perspectives of Care Survey
  5. National Library of Medicine: Applying local context to design and implement patient room whiteboards
  6. National Library of Medicine: Improving patients’ ability to identify their physicians through the use of physician facecards and whiteboards
  7. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: Auditory recognition memory is inferior to visual recognition memory 

Cara Porcella May 1, 2022
Share this post
Sign in to leave a comment

OptiMA, Inc. Makes Inc. Magazine’s Top 5000 List