2015 ended with some interesting news as the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the approval of new CAHPS Surveys starting in 2016. The new surveys, called Outpatient & Ambulatory Surgery (AOS) CAHPS Surveys, will be administered to free-standing ambulatory surgery centers and Medicare certified hospital-based outpatient surgery departments.
One of the most popular topics for conversation and debate within the healthcare industry in recent years has been the rising importance of the patient experience. Most recently, this was evident at the HBS Healthcare Alumni Association's annual conference in November. While there, several leading healthcare industry figures shared their thoughts on the future of the industry, and much of it concentrated on the rise of consumerism and the part that the patient experience will play in it, as patients increasingly approach healthcare facilities through consumerism. For example, Keith Pitts, who is the Vice Chairman of Tenet Health, stressed that contemporary consumers are looking for quality, service and price when they make decisions about their healthcare providers.
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for improving the safety of working conditions across all industries, both by setting and enforcing standards as well as through training, education and assistance. In a recently published report regarding workplace safety in the healthcare industry, several violations of OSHA's Bloodborne Pathogen Standard were discovered. This standard protects hospital employees, from delivery workers to facility cleaners, against bloodborne hazards and, as such, any violations of it present serious risks. Because of the seriousness of potential consequences when these standards are not adhered to, OSHA does inspections both when given a reason to do so as well as randomly. These inspections concern all OSHA standards, not just the Bloodborne Pathogen Standard, and they play a crucial role in ensuring facilities are aware of risks they may accidentally be exposing their employees to.
Improving the patient experience can be perceived as expensive to hospitals, particularly when the focus is on training or retraining staff. However, in a recently published article, results from six years of data suggest that a comprehensive approach to improving the patient experience, with a focus on the communication between patients and their caregivers, can be both efficient at reducing readmission rates as well as inexpensive.
In the healthcare industry, workplace hygiene affects much more than the medical professional themselves, it affects patients, visitors and even their families and friends at home. A recent study on employee hand hygiene shows compelling data that company culture and peer/supervisor attitudes strongly affect compliance with regulations.