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COVID-19 Caused Downswing in Patient Experience, HCAHPS Scores

A Press Ganey report shows a national decline in healthcare patients’ perception of care and patient experience scores.

According to a Press Ganey report, patient experience and perception of their care has decreased nationally since the start of the pandemic.

Prior to the pandemic, patient experience trends remained stagnant and were determined by region, state, and healthcare organization. Patient satisfaction consulting company, Press Ganey, conducted a national HCAHPS analysis to look at the change in patients’ likelihood to recommend their healthcare experience to their family and friends since the start of the pandemic.

The data concluded an overall decline in patients’ perception of their across all healthcare settings. In comparison to all healthcare facilities, medical practice’s saw the most significant decrease in patient likelihood to recommend regarding timely care; this includes phone response, ability to book an appointment when needed, seeing a doctor within 15 minutes, and timeliness of test results. Emergency department scores saw the greatest with related to receiving care within 30 minutes of arrival.

The survey showed a 4.5 percent decrease in patients' likelihood to recommend a hospital. In addition, the number of patients rating their hospital experience between zero and 10 decreased by 4 percent.

The survey also compared the responses from diagnosed with COVID-19 versus non-COVID patients. Interestingly, the reports state 75 percent of COVID patients would recommend a hospital to their family and friends, compared to 72 percent for non-COVID patients.

According to the Press Ganey report, healthcare leaders must review the report to address patients’ concerns regarding their care and patient expectations that have changed during the pandemic.

“At a time when health systems are overrun or implementing crisis standards of care, patient experience should be leveraged as operating data as opposed to punitive data,” Chrissy Daniels, chief experience officer of Press Ganey said in a statement.

“Rather than emphasizing declines in performance, now is the time for leaders to motivate staff by sharing positive patient comments and to reinforce exemplary behaviors that are key drivers of patient satisfaction.”

Correction 11/10/2021: A previous version of this article stated there was a 4.5 percent decrease in patients recommending their hospital; there was, in fact, a 4.5 percent decrease in patient likelihood to recommend. Additionally, this article previously stated 4 percent fewer patients rated their hospital a 10/10, when in fact it was a 4 percent drop in patients rating anywhere between 0 and 10.

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