Five years ago, Joe Leggio at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City knew something needed to change for patients. Patient feedback on HCAHPS surveys continually noted that the hospital was too noisy, or the food wasn’t good, and other complaints that didn’t really deal with their actual health.
So Leggio, associate executive director at the Northwell Health-owned hospital, turned to patient rounding, which isn’t the first thing that springs to mind when it comes to innovation. The practice of checking in on patients clinically has been around perhaps since hospitals first started. Nurses pop in on a patient during their hospital stay to see how they are doing and make sure discharge plans and other clinical aspects of care are clear and to field questions.
Studies have shown that this version of patient rounding can improve patient safety and the patient experience. The dedicated time helps manage situations that can contribute to patient falls, and also prevent pressure ulcers by checking to see if a patient needs repositioning. Patient-experience survey firm Press Ganey said hourly rounding can increase HCAHPS scores up to 15%, and leadership rounds can increase scores by 30%.
“Rounding is a best practice that has a powerful impact on the patient experience when it is performed well and consistently,” said Press Ganey Chief Experience Officer Chrissy Daniels. “We see a definitive correlation between the patient experience, rounding and HCAHPS performance across all healthcare systems, regardless of bed size, type and region.”
But the thing Leggio wanted to get at was different. He and his patient experience team started looking at transitioning floor administrative assistants into taking on the role of collecting real-time patient experience data, like on the hospital food, or cleanliness of the bathroom, or how communication with their doctors was going—all things that can sway HCAHPS scores.
“The HCAHPS surveys that come back, it’s not so helpful to know that someone was upset eight weeks ago; there’s nothing I can do about it,” Leggio said. “It was a big shift for us to start to move from a reactive model to a very proactive approach of gaining feedback in real time.”
They brought on technology platform CipherHealth to digitize the endeavor. CipherHealth Chief Customer Officer Shawn Lemerise said many hospitals know these check-ins are important and can help improve all sorts of quality and experience scores, but many still use paper.