Blog Posts


CMS Adds HCAHPS Five-Star Ratings to Website, April 2015

Posted on Mon, Mar 23, 2015
CMS Adds HCAHPS Five-Star Ratings to Website, April 2015

HCAHPS Five-Star Ratings are intended to make it easier for consumers to use the star system to make decisions concerning their choice of healthcare providers.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) administers patient experience surveys with the goal of improving healthcare in the U.S.  These surveys represent a change in the way CMS pays for services.  Rather than paying for the number of services provided, CMS is moving in the direction of paying for high-quality service.  CMS’s desire to transform the patient experience will involve the utilization of penalties for poor performance in order to ensure healthcare providers will modify existing behaviors to improve patient experience as reflected within the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) patient experience surveys.
HCAHPS star ratings are intended to provide a quick summary of each HCAHPS patient experience survey result in a format that is easy to interpret by the consumer.  CMS plans to update HCAHPS star ratings quarterly.  The HCAHPS star ratings are based on the same data that is used to create the HCAHPS measure publicly reported.
The HCAHPS star ratings shall be based upon averages of survey responses regarding communication with nurses/doctors; responsiveness of hospital staff; pain management; communication about medicines; discharge information; and care transition, as well as cleanliness and quietness of the hospital environment and the overall hospital rating, and whether the patient would recommend the hospital.
All hospitals that participate in the HCAHPS survey are eligible to receive HCAHPS star ratings.  Hospitals must have at least 100 completed surveys in a 12-month reporting period to be eligible for HCAHPS star ratings.  Therefore, the ratings may be based on as few as nine completed surveys per month.
It is critical that the healthcare providers are aware of the categories surveyed, continuously analyze quality improvement data and utilize its quality improvement system to improve the patient experience to avoid the negative public perception of poor care.  The negative star rating will place not only the hospital, but its nurses, doctors and trusted vendors at risk, when hospital management attempts to remedy its poor showing by assessing blame on those responsible for the poor rating.
Prash Pavagadhi
CEO, Qualitick 
March, 2015.

Prash Pavagadhi is a leader in the field of management and marketing both nationally and internationally.  He is the President and CEO of Qualitick, an organization dedicated to bringing innovative data capture, analytics, and quality improvement solutions to the market.  He has worked in diverse markets in both North America and Europe, working with Fortune 500 organizations like Xerox, Corp (UK). and Eaton Corp.  His insightful business and marketing strategies help organizations across numerous industries improve quality initiatives and performance.  The author is also active in the community in Tampa (FL), including a Past President of the Indo-U.S. Chamber of Commerce and also served  on the Board of Directors at the Museum of Science & Industry.  Prash also authored, ‘The Knowledge-Power Paradigm,’ a book which explores the business strategic impact of information as a critical competitive advantage for organizations in this century.

Further reading -


Research Measures Perceptions of Physician Compassion

Posted on Thu, Mar 05, 2015
Research Measures Perceptions of Physician Compassion

Patients perceive higher level of compassion among physicians who provide a more optimistic message

Patients prefer physicians who convey a more optimistic message, and perceive in them a higher level of compassion, according to a study published online Feb. 26 in JAMA Oncology.

Kimberson Tanco, M.D., from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues compared patients' perceptions of physician compassion after watching video vignettes of two physicians conveying a more optimistic and less optimistic message. One hundred patients with advanced cancer were randomly allocated to observe two standardized videos depicting a physician discussing treatment information with a patient with advanced cancer. Both physicians made five empathetic statements and displayed identical posture.

The researchers found that patients reported significantly better physician compassion scores after watching the more optimistic video versus the less optimistic video (P < 0.001). There was a sequence effect, with the second video favored in both compassion scores and physician preference (both P < 0.001). Higher perception of compassion correlated with greater trust in the medical profession; the physician was ranked as trustworthy by 63 patients observing the more optimistic message versus 39 observing the less optimistic message (P = 0.03).

"More research is needed in structuring less optimistic message content to support health care professionals in delivering less optimistic news," the authors write.

Full Text

Copyright © 2015 HealthDay. All rights reserved.


Managing Wait Times to Improve Patient E.D. Experience

Posted on Tue, Feb 03, 2015

The results are in: Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, which, some believe, means that we'll have to wait six more weeks for spring.

As healthcare professionals, we know that waiting, especially in the emergency room setting, can lead to dissatisfied patients.

Let's rewind and take a look at one of our most popular presentations on the psychology of waiting, by EmCare Executive Vice President, Dr. Kirk Jensen as he offers practical tips to improve your patients' ED experience.


Dr. Kirk Jensen is an Executive Vice President with EmCare. He is also the Chief Medical Officer of BestPractices and serves as a Medical Director for Studer Group. He has spent more than 20 years in emergency medicine management and clinical care and is a respected expert in patient safety, performance improvement and patient flow. Jensen has held numerous leadership positions with The Institute for Healthcare Improvement and was named Speaker of the Year by the American College of Emergency Physicians. He has been involved in coaching and/or consulting with more than 200 hospitals nationwide and has developed some of the most innovative and creative solutions in emergency medicine. Jensen holds degrees from the University of Illinois (Champaign), the University of Illinois (Chicago) and the University of Tennessee (Knoxville). He completed his residency in emergency medicine at the University of Chicago.


Clinical Hot Topics: The Physician as a Patient

Posted on Wed, Oct 22, 2014
Clinical Hot Topics: The Physician as a Patient

Hosted by Al Sacchetti, MD, FACEP as moderator, Don’t Blink or You Will Miss It - Clinical Hot Topics can feel much like the “speed dating” of training presentations. The 12 hyper-paced presentations covered a wealth of information for the 2014 EmCare Leadership Conference attendees.  Each week, we’ll publish highlights from select clinical hot topics presented at the conference.

The Physician as a Patient
By Dr. Adenyl Koiki

Nothing can give one a new perspective like a real-life experience. Dr. Adenyl Koiki takes the audience on a journey through his day as he is transformed from physician to patient in a matter of hours. His day began as most days, the usual 7:15 a.m. hand-offs, charts and rounding. A little breakfast at 8 a.m., and then suddenly, it hits: Dr. Koiki is struck with a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). By 9:30 a.m., he is in a hospital bed, intubated and in serious condition. What happens next is where the story becomes so unbelievable.

The hospital contacts the family. As his wife, a nurse, and daughter, a med student, are racing to the hospital the caller indicates they better hurry as they are “not sure he is going to make it.” Isn’t it written (somewhere) that “Thou shalt not panic a patient’s family while they are driving?”

So his family arrives frightened and frantic, but they are not allowed to see him in ICU. The nurse promises to make sure to get them as soon as they are allowed to go back. As they wait in the ICU waiting room, the minutes feel like hours. His wife goes back to the nurse to, again, try and find out when they can see him. The nurse’s reply “Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot!” Seriously?

And the patient himself was enduring his own battle with the care team. He knew the doctor had ordered IV-Med, but the nurse was insisting he was to get IM-Med? Again, seriously? Do you know what your staff members are doing on your behalf?

With this new perspective of the patient care experience from the point of view of the patient, Dr. Koiki saw first-hand how patient satisfaction is a key ingredient in risk management. While it’s not recommended that physicians attempt to get the patient experience first-hand, all would be advised to consider how he or she would want to be treated and have family treated if found in the position of the patient and treat every patient accordingly.