The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services put hospitals on notice back in 2012 that excessive patient readmissions would not be acceptable – and in fact, could be costly to the hospital. For this reason, the Department of Health and Human Services established the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP). The HRRP served as part of the Affordable Care Act’s goal to improve healthcare by financially rewarding quality care.
To say that technology has changed – is changing – how healthcare is delivered is an understatement. The Gartner Group estimates that worldwide, hospital IT spending will grow by 2.8 percent this year from its $3.7 trillion 2018 level.
Adequately preparing a hospital patient to transition to care at home is one of the most important deterrents to hospital readmissions. Alarmingly, HCAHPS scores for care transition and discharge planning often fall among the lowest of all HCAHPS ratings.
A Beryl Institute study of 2,000 consumers uncovered some insight into the importance patients put on their patient care experience. A staggering nine out of ten respondents said their patient experience is somewhat or very important to them, but why? They believe that a good experience contributes to their healing and health outcomes.
Poor nurse retention has plagued the hospital industry for many decades. As the years pass, the concern of retention remains costly and harmful to hospitals and patients alike. At a national average RN turnover rate of 17.1% year after year, healthcare holds the dubious distinction for having one of the highest turnover rates among all industries.
Hospitals are losing nurses at an alarming rate. In fact, it’s been estimated that 33.5% of new RNs leave the bedside within the first two years. All of that turnover can affect patient care and satisfaction, and has a significant impact on a hospital’s operating expenses. The average cost of turnover for just one bedside RN ranges from $37,700 to $58,400. A recent Healthcare RN Retention study found that each percent increase in RN turnover costs the average hospital $373,200.
To say that nursing is a stressful career is not news. As far back as 15 years ago, nursing was ranked as the fourth most-stressful job in the country, with high turnover rates to prove it.
Each year in the U.S., serious preventable medication errors occur in 3.8 million inpatient admissions, according to the Network for Excellence in Health Innovation. In fact, according to Leapfrog Group, on average, one medication error occurs per patient per day.
Industry Leaders Say: People, Processes & Technology
As hospitals look for ways to intersect people, processes and technology to improve outcomes, patient satisfaction and revenue, chief experience officers and, more recently, hospital docents (skilled volunteers) are playing that key role. In fact, more than half of hospitals now have a chief experience officer. A 2017 survey by The Beryl Institute found that 58 percent of hospitals surveyed employ a chief experience officer or CXO, up from just 22 percent in 2013.
Everyone’s talking about it. What is the “it”? The “it” is how do we, as hospitals, improve our patients’ experience. How do we take a stressful, sometimes emotional, often confusing stay in a hospital and turn all of those adjectives into positives? There’s no single answer to that question, as evidenced by the many sessions devoted to patient experience at this week’s HIMSS conference.