The Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey, also known as HCAHPS, is growing in importance because of pressure from the insurance companies. According to Forbes, Medicaid was wanting to expand the child patient version of the survey, and they eventually did.

Also, hospitals want to avoid losing reimbursement, and they are striving to maintain market share. Keeping patients satisfied is why many people get into the healthcare industry, but patient satisfaction also has a lot to do with money and red tape. Here are four strategies for increasing the health, happiness and satisfaction of patients, which will also increase the score for the HCAHPS.

Healthcare Providers Should Be Aware of Unconscious Cues

Without even realizing they do it, hospital staff can come off as uncaring and indifferent by giving off certain cues and engaging in certain behavior, and often, this is the first impression for patient coming into the emergency room. The professionals caring for the patients, such as the nurse’s assistants, test technicians, nurses and doctors need to always make eye contact, especially with patients and people with them.

Also, plenty of hospitals use med students, and they like to feel important by giving off a busy, self-important attitude. The med students need to slow down and learn about bedside manner. Another one of the biggest things for patient satisfaction is for the nursing staff not to ignore their patients just because they have not clocked in because this would take a poor first impression and completely turn it around.

These cues and quirks may seem like small things to busy employees, but they are important to people sick, in pain and stuck in bed. Finally, the friends and relatives of the patients notice these things too, and they would be happy about eye contact and attention as well.

Get Employees to Consider Purpose and Function

It is not so much about getting employees to concentrate on function as well as purpose as it is to get them to put more emphasis on purpose. They are already trained and programmed from routine just to fulfill the functions of their jobs. An important part of patient satisfaction is making sure all employees understand their purpose at their facility, appreciate the importance of their purpose and do so from the start of their employment.

An employee has both a purpose, which is why the job exists, and a function, which are the responsibilities of the job. An employee with the right balance will know that sometimes it is important to let purpose take control in order for a positive medical outcome to exist, and these situations are not uncommon.

Patients feel safer and happier if they know they are not dealing with a zombie staff and possibly have someone who is a hero for helping to save a life but just changes beds as a function.

Teach Employees to Offer a Sincere Apology

This is one of the most crucial keys to patient satisfaction and praise, but it is also short and hard. Learning to properly use the word sorry is something the entire team needs to learn. Service lapses and attention to complaints is a prime reason why bad reviews are left for facilities. It is important and easy to resolve service lapse complaints with a sincere apology and explanation.

It would also help to reassure the patient that their comfort and needs are a high priority. Remember, apologizing and offering an explanation does not mean giving an exasperated sorry laced with defensiveness. Finally, offering excuses is not the same as explanations. Patients have intuition and will spot the difference between sincerity and insincerity.

Improve Patient Engagement Through Digital Interaction

New technologies offer several interactive ways for patients to be involved in their recovery and learn about their condition. One of thing that stands out is that some patients, especially the very old and children, feel scared and in the dark about their conditions.

Patient engagement systems offer interactive televisions and tablets for the patients, and they also provide a care team display with a number of functions. Additionally, meals and entire menus can be put together using either the interactive television or tablet. Patients can also use their interactive devices to control the temperature of their room.

Just that little bit of control over their comfort makes a huge, positive impact on patient happiness and satisfaction levels. Finally, the interactive devices are plugged into pharmacy fulfillment, and patients can also see their schedule.

The HCAHPS is a positive thing for facilities and patients. The one drawback is some hospitals will try to turn the survey into a game or manipulate it just to gain more money and publicity. Getting good scores is important, and they are a perk of happy patients, which is all that should really matter to the staff.