Healthcare News & Insights

Strategies to improve HCAHPS scores in 2018

Healthcare facilities are being held to the same standards as the hospitality industry “ where the patient experience is key. Since HCAHPS scores affect


Training your staff to improve HCAHPS scores should be approached like fine dining where communication and elite service is crucial. There are many other factors that patients are surveyed on, but most factors revolve around communication and attention to detail. Since your nurses interact with patients the most, it important to establish strategies to train your nurses on consistently improving HCAHPS scores.

Here are some of the strategies CNO shared on how they improved HCAHPS scores at their facilities:


  • Master each HCAHPS tactic. Give your staff two tactics to focus on to improve for two quarters straight. Once they master those tactics, have them focus on improving another two tactics for two quarters. Gradually have your staff master each tactic to improve overall scores.
  • Don focus on the numbers. When addressing expected levels for patient care with your staff, don focus on the numbers from the HCAHPS scores. Instead, have your nurses focus on the patient experience.
    If your nurses are focused on taking care of the patient and providing excellent service, they won get distracted by the specifics of the HCAHPS scoring. This way your nurses aim high instead of aiming for a number.
  • Let your staff come up with the plan. Instead of leadership enforcing a plan to improve HCAHPS scores, let your staff come up with a plan of action. Your staff is more likely to become passionate about the change because theye now a part of it.
  • Involve the patient in the bedside shift report. Once the nurse has communicated with the patient about their care, have the nurses ask the patient to give the report back to them. This way the nurse can see the patient perception of the level of care theye providing. The patient also feels more responsible and involved in their care when they are discharged, which will reduce readmissions.
  • Find an interesting fact about the patient. Ask your nurse to tell you a personal detail about the patient that not obvious from the patient charts. This is a way for your nurse to try to connect with the patient beyond the task-oriented relationship. Provider and patient relationships are becoming increasingly more important to an organization brand.
  • Establish peer-to-peer evaluation. To improve patient engagement among your staff, establish peer to peer evaluations so that nurses can get feedback from their colleagues. This way every nurse is practicing patient engagement and they all know what is expected of them.

Each of these suggestions come from CNOs who claim they™ve seen improvement in scores from these strategies. Improvement in scores will increase the chances of being rewarded with reimbursements and will improve the overall value-based care system that your hospital provides.

Shari Dingle (Sandifer) Costantini, RN, MBA, founder and CEO of

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