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A hospital exec’s perspective from the other side of the bed

April 28th, 2016

by Raymond Hino

High-quality patient experience is always a concern for me, as I believe we must make our patients’ time with us as pleasant as possible. Until recently, though, I haven’t had much experience as a patient myself. The most serious procedure I have ever had done in a hospital is an inguinal hernia repair, and my experience was very good. That couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that I was also the CEO of that facility, right?

But a more recent hospital experience in a facility, where I was not known, has given me a different perspective. A little more than a year ago, I was visiting my mother-in-law and brother-in-law, who were both inpatients at a local community hospital on the same day. This hospital has a great reputation. I was looking forward to seeing how they were doing and to get a closer look “under the hood.” Little did I know that before the day was done, I myself, would be joining them as a patient at that hospital.

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Time for hospitals, physicians to get on board with transparency movement

April 28th, 2016

by Kent Bottles

To say there is a global disagreement about publicly reported ratings for physician and hospital performance is an understatement. The trend is toward more ways for the public to consult data before choosing a physician or hospital. In 2007, the National Health Service in the United Kingdom launched the NHS Choices website to allow patients to evaluate physicians and hospitals. In 2011, the largest German health insurer created the Arzt-Navi website with a similar function. Internet searches reveal more than 30 private physician-rating sites.

In the United States, there is general agreement that healthcare costs too much and that there are outcome-related quality difference between physicians and hospitals. If publicly reported ratings for providers can reveal these differences, they would be powerful tools that could support the Triple Aim and improve healthcare. Many of the provisions in the Affordable Care Act and the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act advocate for more transparency and accountability of physicians and hospitals.

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Opioid crisis: It isn't hard for most Americans to put a face on this epidemic

April 28th, 2016

by Joanne Finnegan

I got a call from my oldest brother early Monday morning with sad news. He learned that on Easter Sunday a lifelong friend--we had all grown up in the same tight-knit suburban neighborhood--had found his 33-year-old son dead in his bedroom from a drug overdose.

"Oh my God," I said, but I didn't add the words, "that's unbelievable," because it wasn't. In fact, it was all too believable.

Deaths from drug overdoses have hit way too close for many Americans. Forty-one percent of adults in the U.S. say they know someone who has abused prescription painkillers in the past five years, according to a STAT-Harvard poll released earlier this month. Of those, 20 percent said the abuse had led to a person's death, which translates to 1 in 12 Americans who say they personally know someone who died from a prescription drug overdose.

>>Read the full commentary at FiercePracticeManagement

Hospital leaders: Words of caution for social media outreach

April 21st, 2016

by Nancy P. Jean

So you’re tweeting, posting to Facebook, updating Pinterest boards and maybe putting pictures up on Instagram—that’s great for your hospital and your brand awareness.

But here are three factors you might not have considered when it comes to social media use:

Employees behaving badly

When it comes to employees and social media, we hope that workers will behave appropriately, but unfortunately that’s not always the case. What do you do when you find out that an employee has a personal blog that contains information that could potentially identify a patient? Or when you get a call from an administrator saying an employee had been having an inappropriate conversation with a patient through Facebook? These are true stories, and such situations, or worse, could happen at any hospital.

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The bottom-line impact of attention to patient satisfaction

April 21st, 2016

by Michelle Rathman

When we talk about patient satisfaction, what we’re really talking about is customer service, patient safety and employee engagement. In healthcare today, the stakes are high for achieving patient satisfaction, and they go well beyond HCAHPS scores.

With the two largest payment systems, Medicare and Medicaid, using a value-based purchasing measurement set with performance-based financial incentives and public reporting of quality information-- including patient satisfaction--it’s clear that employee attitude and engagement have a significant impact on a hospital’s bottom line. This is especially true for rural healthcare facilities that rely heavily on these payers.

Besides the considerable financial incentives ascribed by the government, hospital leaders should keep in mind other consumer-based metrics for measuring quality in their customer service. According to "Customers 2020," a comprehensive consumer study conducted by Walker Information in collaboration with CustomerThink and the Chief Customer Officer Council, by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.

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