P.O. Box 409095
Chicago, IL 60640
Length: 7 minutes, 15 seconds
Interviewer: Neil McLaughlin, managing editor, Modern Healthcare
Interviewee: Elizabeth Goldstein, director, CMS division of consumer assessment of healthcare surveys
[00:00:08.04] Womans Voice: Welcome to this edition of Special Report Extra, brought to you by Modern Healthcare and powered by Martopia. With each edition of Special Report Extra, listeners hear directly from key healthcare executives involved in the major events shaping the industry.
[00:00:28.02] Neil McLaughlin: Im Neil McLaughlin, managing editor of Modern Healthcare. Were talking with Elizabeth Goldstein, director of consumer assessment and healthcare surveys for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services. Our topic is the subject of Modern Healthcare magazines July 23rd Special Report. Thats the governments new survey of patients and their experiences in the hospital, known as the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Hospital Survey, or HCAHPS for short. Beginning this month, hospitals will need to submit data from a standardized survey in order to receive their full PPS payment update.
Miss Goldstein, please tell us what the government is hoping to accomplish with this program.
[00:01:16.14] Elizabeth Goldstein: By adding HCAHPS to our other hospital measures that we are reporting on Hospital Compare, we want to add the patient perspective. Starting in March 2008, well be presenting this information on Hospital Compare, so patients, when theyre choosing a hospital with their physicians can see what other patients or consumers think about the hospital.
[00:01:41.09] Neil McLaughlin: You have done some voluntary testing on this survey, correct?
[00:01:44.01] Elizabeth Goldstein: Correct.
[00:01:45.17] Neil McLaughlin: And how many questions are in the survey?
[00:01:48.00] Elizabeth Goldstein: There are 27 items that are included in the HCAHPS survey; most of the items focus on the experiences of patients during their hospital stay. Other questions on the instrument are used to adjust for the patient (unclear) across the hospital.
[00:02:07.03] Neil McLaughlin: Were any adjustments made to the program after the testing of the survey was completed?
[00:02:13.00] Elizabeth Goldstein: During our dry-run phases for the survey, we were really testing the implementation protocol, so we did make a few adjustments to the implementation protocol as a result of the dry run. For example, during the first dry run that we did in spring 2006, we found that it was more difficult to do the survey for certain patient groups. So weve excluded some additional patient groups from receiving a survey as a result of that first dry run. Weve also made some adjustments to the data submission protocol.
[00:02:52.21] Neil McLaughlin: Can you give us an example of groups that were excluded?
[00:02:56.15] Elizabeth Goldstein: Some additional groups that were excluded were patients with foreign addresses or telephone numbers, prisoners, as well as hospice patients.
[00:03:06.12] Neil McLaughlin: Many hospitals are already conducting their own patient-satisfaction surveys. How will this mesh with those efforts?
[00:03:12.25] Elizabeth Goldstein: When we were developing HCAHPS, we paid very close attention to what hospitals were currently doing with their survey vendors or on their own when they did a survey. So weve made a lot of adjustments to the HCAHPS protocols to allow for hospitals to continue as many of their current practices as possible. For example, before HCAHPS was implemented, hospitals did their surveys either by phone or mail or some other additional protocols. For HCAHPS, hospitals can do a phone-only survey, they can do a mail option, they can do a mix of mail and telephone, as well as they can do something called active/interactive voice response. So we allow different protocols for surveying administration.
We also gave some flexibility in terms of when hospitals do the survey. Some hospitals like to continuously survey their patients, while other hospitals prefer to wait until the end of the month. So we allow hospitals or survey vendors to do the survey anywhere between 48 hours after discharge, to six weeks after discharge.
The other protocol that we do allow is that hospitals or survey vendors can add their own questions after the HCAHPS ones. So they can really combine the two surveys, so they can have the 27 HCAHPS questions, and then their own, or have the core HCAHPS questions, which are the first 22 questions, and then insert before the questions that are called our About You questions, or basically our demographic items. So they can insert their own items before those demographic ones. These allowances or protocols were made to provide some flexibility so hospitals and survey vendors could continue as much as possible their current practices.
[00:05:13.21] Neil McLaughlin: Now when will the public be able to see this information?
[00:05:18.12] Elizabeth Goldstein: HCAHPS will first be reported on Hospital Compare in March 2008. And this will be for the hospitals that began data collection in October 2006. So this is about 2700 hospitals.
[00:05:33.19] Neil McLaughlin: Any estimate of how many hospitals will be participating as we go along in this program?
[00:05:40.07] Elizabeth Goldstein: We just finished data submission for new hospitals that were joining HCAHPS, as well as those hospitals that have been continuously collecting it, since October. At this point, its over 3,800 hospitals that are participating. Our guess is this will grow over time to be somewhere over 4,000 hospitals.
[00:06:02.22] Neil McLaughlin: In your opinion, how does healthcare compare with other industries in the sophistication of surveying customer satisfaction?
[00:06:11.01] Elizabeth Goldstein: In other industries, they often have some type of patient satisfaction survey; and then hospitals, also, theres traditionally been some type of survey activity. For the hospital setting today, until HCAHPS was implemented, theres never been a standard survey, so you could not compare the care from the patient perspective across hospitals. So HCAHPS is really creating a standardization across hospitals so you can compare one hospital to the next.
[00:06:42.11] Neil McLaughlin: Weve been talking with Elizabeth Goldstein, director of consumer assessment and healthcare surveys for the centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Thank you, Miss Goldstein.
[00:06:51.21] Elizabeth Goldstein: Youre welcome.
[00:06:52.28] Womans Voice: Thank you for listening to this edition of Special Report Extra, brought to you by Modern Healthcare and powered by Martopia. Listen to other editions of Special Report Extra by visiting the multimedia section of Modern Healthcare Online at ModernHealthcare.com.
[00:07:15.00] Audio Ends.