The HEPACART Blog

What HCAHPS Means for Contractors (with Action Items)

Contractors that specialize in hospital construction and renovation are in a unique position to depend on the trends not only of construction and building codes, but also advancements and changes in the healthcare industry. Both industries can change quickly with governmental regulations having significant power over what those developments will look like.

One such development in the past decade has been the HCAHPS.

What is the HCAHPS?

The Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, abbreviated as HCAHPS and referred to verbally as H-Caps, is a national, standardized survey that all hospitals must administer to a cross section of patients every month. The HCAHPS was first developed in 2002 and put into wide use in 2006. However, it was not until July 2007 that hospitals subject to the Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) were required to submit HCHAPS results in order to receive their IPPS payments.

Further, as of 2010 HCAHPS is included in the Affordable Care Act as one of the determining factors used to determine incentive payments for hospitals.

How the HCAHPS Impacts Hospitals

Aside from infrastructural concerns that hospitals have had to implement in order to administer HCAHPS, the public, standardized reporting has made it easier than ever for patients to compare hospitals and the levels of service they can expect to receive at different hospitals. This, of course, means that hospitals are more concerned than ever about patient experience and happiness. The HCAHPS survey, which consists of questions about everything from doctor and nurse communication to hospital cleanliness and noise levels, gives hospitals a concrete, financial reason to focus on patient experience.

Potential Contractor HCAHPS Action Items

While it may not seem at first blush that the HCAHPS has much to do with contractors in the healthcare industry, anything that affects healthcare clients, affects their vendors. An industry wide call to action to focus on patient experience above all has and will continue to have an impact on how hospital construction and renovation projects proceed. As such, we have compiled a few action items that may be helpful for contractors going forward:

Familiarize yourself with the HCAHPS questions that pertain to construction

The full text of the standardized questions is available from hcahpsonline.org. The two questions that are most pertinent to the hospital environment and therefore construction processes are below:

However, it is a good idea to read through the survey and assess which pieces of the patient experience could be heavily influenced by construction practices.

Include key vocabulary in the bidding process

When you are able to demonstrate to hospital decision makers that you understand the importance of HCAHPS, you are showing them that you know how critical a good patient experience is and that you and your team will be cognizant of ways in which your hospital construction project could help or hinder HCAHPS results.

Keep the Patient Top of Mind

The best thing that you can do to ensure that your projects are having a positive influence on HCAHPS feedback is to keep the patient top of mind throughout your process. From the first design to the last finishing touches, consider both how the space you are building will be used and how people who might currently be using a space, in the case of a renovation, can be kept most comfortable.

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