This coming March, CMS will report Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) patient satisfaction results for the first time. The ramifications of this public data release are significant.
Is your hospital prepared to maximize the value of positive scores or mitigate the damage of negative scores?
- What is your plan if a well-regarded system earns lower-than-expected HCAHPS scores?
- What if your institution comes in lower on the list for your market area/state?
- How will you leverage mixed results so the news media — and your consumers — pay attention to your successes?
- What are your plans for promoting extremely positive, market-leading scores, particularly in the first year?
- How will you ensure that internal communications at your hospital are in-sync with external messages?
- How will you explain HCAHPS in a simple manner to news media that cover your market area?
B&D Consulting's Strategic & Public Policy Communications Team is ready to assist your hospital in navigating the communications challenges from the looming HCAHPS data release. Our team worked for years on communications and public policy issues related to the design of the survey. Our team engaged leaders in Congress and at CMS on the HCAHPS tool and worked with the news media and opinion leaders on the purpose of the initiative. In short, we understand HCAHPS — what it is and what it isn't — and can help hospitals successfully engage the news media and other key audiences as HCAHPS rolls out.
Within the next month, hospitals are expected to have an opportunity to inspect their HCAHPS scores prior to release. This advance notice will help inform your communications strategy. Our B&D Team is prepared to help your hospital from pre-inspection of data through public release and aftermath of the report. Our team will:
- Work with hospital leaders to determine the most effective strategy and develop a customized communications plan;
- Brief media on the HCAHPS prior to data release to improve reporter understanding of what HCAHPS is and is not;
- Assist leadership in explaining HCAHPS scores to internal stakeholders;
- Place your HCAHPS scores in the proper context, including showcasing positive marks earned on other surveys;
- Identify compelling 3rd-party spokespeople (community leaders, satisfied patients, etc.) who may be willing to talk to the media about your scores;
- Media train all hospital-designated spokespeople for interaction with reporters;
- Plan and execute day-of media event;
- Interact with reporters and/or support hospital media staff in outreach and response;
- Monitor media coverage — especially blogs and other viral media — to promptly rebut/debunk negative comments and promote positive news; and
- Develop a longer-term plan to assist the hospital in continued media engagement on HCAHPS and patient quality/satisfaction issues.