Do a Google search on either "HCAHPS Scores" or "Hospital HCAHPS Scores" - you will find many companies willing to help you improve your scores - you will also find the very popular link to www.hcahpsonline.org and www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov - these are great sources of information - for healthcare 1.0 and healthcare marketing 1.0 - NOT for healthcare 2.0 and healthcare marketing 2.0 - and certainly not for a hospital that has or has not embraced social media.
If your hospital has embraced social media - congrats! You are on the cutting edge! But I ask the question "Does your hospital tweet or facebook your HCAHPS scores?" Do you sit back and expect your patients, employees, physicians, board members, and communities to spend their valuable time surfing and navigating the internet looking for HCAHPS scores? Or do they expect you to be broadcasting this information (not data) to them? I would expect the latter - and I believe strongly that it is the latter. After all, this is publicly reported data for all eyes (with a computer) to see.
At my small, rural midwestern hospital we routinely post entries on our blog, facebook page, and twitter account about our recent HCAHPS scores - as well as post recent comments from patients regarding the great service that they receive. What is more motivational to a staff member than seeing their name mentioned in a survey and broadcast out to hundreds and in some cases thousands of people/friends/followers/readers?? Is your weekend, night ICU nurse pumped up at 3:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning to see his/her CEO proclaiming that "their hospital is the best in the area"??
What else is coming down the pike? Consumer Reports announced on August 3, 2009 that for the first time, they will "provide patient satisfaction ratings for more than 3,400 hospitals across the U.S." (for an annual subscription price of $19). So we are going to sit back and wait for our patients and communities to PAY $19 to see our data in a meaningful and easy to read format? Or are we going to be proactive as an industry and use these great social media tools to broadcast our own scores and results?
I did a simple search on twitter for the hashtag #hcahps - guess what?? There are NO results. Until now - as I am going to officially start the #hcahps march to better transparency and information.
The next step is to provide a file (for the time period of Oct 2007-Sep 2008) that shows all of the results of the HCAHPS reporting hospitals for what I consider the most important HCAHPS question - "Would You Recommend The Hospital To Friends And Family?" - You will see that I have sorted this file by the percentage of patients that would "definitely recommend" the hospital. To me, your goal should be to create "raving fans" among your patients and this question shows the hospital's effectiveness in this area.
In summary, our goal as a hospital needs to continue to improve our transparency. I believe that the utilization of social media tools is a tremendous way to communicate your message. I am going to continue to dissect this data and will continue to publish this data in the near future.