Why hospital quality performance is valuable to you

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Quality of care is arguably the highest priority in hospitals and health systems across the U.S. After all, no healthcare provider wants to be known for delivering subpar services in an unsafe, unclean environment.  

Fortunately, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), commercial payors, and accrediting organizations require health systems to report quality measures. These metrics are defined by the CMS as a set of standards used to quantify healthcare processes, patient outcomes, organizational structures, and more.  

These metrics are vital to hospital operations. Leaders and decision-makers use this data to improve the patient experience, reduce readmissions, and decrease serious complications among other things.  

However, these metrics are also incredibly valuable to any business operating in the healthcare market. There’s just one hiccup: there are dozens—if not hundreds—of quality measures. To get up to speed on which quality measures you should be focusing on, read our blog on the top 10 hospital performance metrics.  

So instead of spending days explaining how your organization can best leverage each performance metric, this blog will instead focus on two of them: patient satisfaction and readmission rate. Armed with this intelligence, you may be able to generate revenue, guide strategic planning, and uncover new opportunities more effectively. 

HCAHPS scores are used to evaluate patient satisfaction 

Patient satisfaction is largely determined by the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey. The CMS created the survey to gauge patient satisfaction following their discharge from a hospital or care facility. Patients are asked to provide feedback on their experience in specific areas, such as how clean and quiet the facility was, and the clarity of the discharge information. Survey responses are then converted into a star rating system, with one star indicating the lowest performers and five stars indicating the highest performers.  

With HospitalView, it’s easy to see any facility’s patient satisfaction score and HCAHPS rating with the clinical quality strength dashboard. According to Definitive Healthcare data, only 231 U.S. hospitals had an overall five-star rating, and 69 had a one-star rating in 2022. Of the more than 9,000 hospitals we track, most fall somewhere in between.  

If you sell into the healthcare market, below are two examples of how you can leverage HCAHPS scores to discover new prospective customers and identify the health systems most in need of your product.  

Pain management 

Patients rate hospitals and care providers on how well their post-operative pain was managed. This opens the door for pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies, and even staffing firms.  

Pharmaceutical companies can target facilities scoring low in pain management to promote effective medications. Medical device suppliers can also use pain management scores to offer alternative methods of care delivery, such as intravenous drug delivery or patient monitoring systems. Lastly, staffing firms can recommend locum tenens workers or permanent staff members to ensure that there are plenty of providers available to take care of patient needs during the recovery process. 

Communication 

If patients do not feel that nurses and physicians are communicating clearly, there can be a serious risk of a patient not properly following through with their own care after discharge. This can lead to an increased risk of 30-day readmissions, healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), and other complications—more on that below. 

If this lapse in communication is due to an inadequate number of providers, a staffing firm can use this opportunity to place permanent providers or supply locum tenens candidates while full-time staff completes a comprehensive communications training program.  

Technology vendors can also improve communication between patients and providers through a patient portal. These private extranet sites are encrypted, offering patients a convenient online option to ensure they are complying with their physician's orders post-discharge. Luckily, most electronic health record (EHR) systems include a patient portal or are compatible with portals from other vendors. 

Readmission rates evaluate the care of quality delivered 

Readmission rates are one of the most important quality metrics to consider when determining how effective a hospital and its physicians are at delivering high-quality care. The purpose of measuring readmission rates is to improve comprehensive care, ensuring that providers are treating the whole patient, not just their symptoms or parts of their condition. 

A high hospital readmission rate indicates that proper care is not being provided, or that physicians or nurses are overlooking complications that occur. In contrast, a low hospital readmission rate generally means that the treatment provided was effective and that the patient did not need to visit the hospital again for the same condition within a given time period.  

Again, you can use HospitalView to see 30-day readmission and return day rates for any active hospital we track.  

Complications and infections are just two areas companies can focus on to understand where a hospital’s problem areas are and offer solutions that will save money and increase efficiency. Staffing companies and suppliers can find this data to be particularly valuable.   

Complications  

Home health agencies can partner with hospitals and outpatient surgery centers to ensure that patients receive the proper care after discharge. This could reduce the risk of readmission from infection, fall injuries, and other complications, as there is a healthcare professional available to treat any issues as they arise.  

Pharmaceutical companies can also leverage this data to identify antibiotics, aspirin, inhalers, and other medications that can prevent or reduce the risk of common complications.  

Infections 

Healthcare-associated infections are the most reported hospital complication. Hospitals are legally required to report instances of HAIs to the CDC for CMS reimbursements or penalties. 

Medical device suppliers can leverage HAI data to segment their target markets and provide items like catheters, IVs, and custom surgical trays that can reduce the risk of transmitting infections such as catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI), central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI), and others. 

Pharmaceutical companies can provide oral antibiotics as well as antibacterial ointments that prevent surgical site infections (SSIs). And lastly, custodial companies can promote their specialized medical services, ensuring sanitary surgical supplies, intensive-care units, and surgical suites that reduce infection risks. 

Learn more 

It’s clear that there’s a wealth of healthcare commercial intelligence to be gained when using hospital quality performance data, all easily accessible through the Definitive Healthcare platform. Our solutions can also help take your strategic planning and marketing and sales efforts to the next level. You can access detailed financial and clinical metrics on more than 9,000 hospitals, get executive contact information, see technology implementations, RFPs, and a whole lot more.  

To see how our healthcare commercial intelligence can help grow your business faster, start a free trial today.  

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