Oct. 1 marked the beginning of CMS’s fiscal year 2015 and begins changes to the readmission penalty program. The penalty for excess readmissions increases to 3 percent and two more conditions were added to the program: COPD and total hip arthroplasty/total knee arthroplasty. Continue reading
Becker’s latest article on hospital CFOs and what they are starting to measure is interesting. With the increasing focus on quality measures and the financial incentives and penalties associated with them, this seems to be long overdue.
Readmission penalties pneumonia, heart attack, and heart failure — all expensive conditions — were applied to over 2,000 hospitals this year. In 2015, COPD and total hips and knees join the list.
HCAHPS has been a measure of patient satisfaction tied to increasingly larger reimbursement penalties and incentives. Soon measures of doctor satisfaction will become significant, too. What is surprising about the article is not that CFOs are now looking at these measures along with normal purely financial measures like cash flow, but that it has taken so long. With the average hospital making single digit percentage profits, if any profit at all, these payments are significant to the bottom line. Continue reading
A recent article in Healthcare Global titled “9 Things Health Care Professionals Can Do to Improve Patient Satisfaction” is timely and relevant given the growing focus on patient engagement and satisfaction by providers, particularly hospitals. The benefits of more satisfied patients directly affect CMS reimbursements, and contribute to the dual business benefits of attracting new patients and then retaining them.
Numerous studies have also shown that more satisfied patients are more engaged and have less readmissions. This is another strong cost driver for hospitals. And finally, providers who have more satisfied patients overwhelmingly do better financially. So the motivation is there for hospitals to focus on patient satisfaction. Continue reading
Apple is again in the news with its announcement of their Health Kit product. The new product claims to be an easy set of apps that will allow consumers to link to and see health information, link to wearable health monitoring devices, and provide some level of communication with health professionals.
This is a great thing, but maybe not for the reasons being touted in the press today. The ability to monitor health data on a small mobile device is an enabler for all those with small mobile devices and passion to maintain and improve their health. They also have the financial means to acquire the equipment and software necessary, as well as the patience to set it up and follow a plan. This is a significant market, recently estimated at the Wireless Life Science Alliance (WLSA) conference in San Diego, at $6B a year and serviced by some big names like Nike and up-and-comers like FitBit. The Health Kit app adds to the already 100,000 apps available for smart phones and I’m sure moves the needle toward better, faster, more inclusive mobile technology solutions. Continue reading
My first child was a whirlwind of excitement, anticipation and preparation. Classes, clothes, paraphernalia, furniture, house modifications, you name it we did it. That nine months flew by and we went to the hospital with a suitcase stuffed full of recommended items including at least a pound of hard candy in case mouths became dry. It was an exciting time!
Then, within 24 hours, we were politely informed it was time to go home and, by the way, don’t forget the baby. What a letdown. What an adjustment! The anticipation and preparation, the labor process, all of it was over. The real work, raising a human being (a good human being), was just beginning. Over the months and years of changes, evolving demands, shifting priorities, and a lot of work, we accomplished this. We raised three decent human beings. Continue reading
It may seem like conversations around HCAHPS has become a broken record. The importance of these scores and other patient satisfaction results has not faded. Unfortunately, some hospitals don’t understand or acknowledge the impact these scores can have on their bottom line. This is yet another reason that hospitals need to think about what’s next. And what is next, is patients looking up hospitals and checking out reviews – just like they do now with restaurants, hotels, salons, car repair shops and mechanics, smart phones, and more.
Hospitals are well-positioned to think about and plan for this future today. Patients are reporting their experiences and the results are easily available on the Internet. Hospitals that have ignored the inevitable or are still waiting to see what was going to happen in the courts, now need to play catch-up in order to be competitive and sustain operations. This is especially important for hospitals in highly competitive markets. Continue reading
As 2013 quickly winds down to a close, aside from wondering where the time went, those of us working in healthcare can look at this year as one of significant changes — some that seemed surprising at the time. For me, there were some big “aha” moments in 2013 and I thought I would share several of them with you.
- I watched a debate among top ranking Republican and Democratic speakers on the Affordable Care Act. The entire discussion was around the tactics of the roll out, much like the coverage on major news networks. The big “Aha” moment for me was at the same meeting when the CEO of a major IDN was answering questions about clinicians’ acceptance of the major — read unprecedented — changes he was making in operations around efficiency and rationalization. His response was the following: “At first the reaction was that this would go away. Then the Supreme Court reaffirmed it, multiple votes to repeal it were unsuccessful and Obama was re-elected. Our people now believe it is here to stay and we have to change.” Continue reading
This is a time of great change and challenge for hospitals and clinicians. When major change happens in industries, particularly industries like healthcare that have been stable for many years, each day, week, and month can leave you feeling claustrophobic as the restrictions, the budgets, and the rules get tighter leaving you less and less room to maneuver.
It can be difficult to understand what to do to break into the clear and start to operate in a different mode.
Patient engagement is one path leading to the clear. How to make it happen and what to use to facilitate patient engagement can be daunting questions to address while undergoing major shifts. It can be easy, and tempting, to ignore it and work on other programs. But getting the patient and the patient’s family on the side of the healthcare provider—getting their attention and help—leverages a whole new set of players to get and keep patients healthy. Continue reading
There has been a lot of talk about mobile devices, such as iPads and other tablets, as a tool to help increase productivity and enhance the patient experience. The idea is that with tablets, clinicians and physicians can have instant access to electronic health records and other necessary information to make the best use of time spent with patients. Some hospitals are considering using tablets as a part of the workflow to enter information into EMRs, or document and deliver patient education. And some hospitals have considered offering tablets to patients for personal use while in waiting rooms or during their stay. Continue reading
The move to increase rounding at hospitals is a trend in the right direction. More direct nurse time with the patient and family is helpful in healing and education. It can also be a great patient satisfier. It is important though that nurse-patient time is quality time. This generally means three things:
- The nurse has sufficient time to spend in the patient room answering questions and really interacting in a personal manner. In order for this to occur, nurses must be free from repetitive low value-add tasks to spend more meaningful time in the patient room.
- The nurse can be forewarned of patient issues and should come prepared to address them in a well thought out manner. This means that they should have access to patient information and concerns that will enable them to make the time they have with each patient of the highest value. This isn’t necessarily EHR records or medical information. This is more patient questions about what is going on in the hospital and about their concerns.
- The nurse is not overwhelmed with schedule-driven, low-quality “touching base” interactions. Think of the repetitive “Goodbye” you get from the flight attendant when leaving a plane. That is impersonal, repetitive and low quality. Continue reading