Patient Experience Surveys – The Voice of Our Patients and Families


KentuckyOne Health Remaining Operations

By Kimberly Hatchel, DNP, MHA, MSN, RN, CENP, SVP/Market Chief Nursing Officer

Kim Hatchel, Chief Nursing Officer

July 1, 2019, marked the launch of our three-year RENEW strategic plan, which places a special emphasis on transforming the health of our communities by elevating patient care and its delivery. As a part of our Catholic ministry we strive to bring wellness, healing and hope to all individuals and families we serve across central and eastern Kentucky, including the underserved.

As such a strong mission-driven organization, it is important to continually monitor our impact on the patient experience and explore areas for possible improvement. One way to measure success is to review our Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) scores. HCAHPS is a patient experience survey required by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for all hospitals in the United States. The survey is administered for adult inpatients, excluding psychiatric patients, via phone or text-email shortly after discharge.

The first question I am often asked is, “Why is HCAHPS important?” The survey is important for our organization for several reasons:

  • The survey is intended to give our patients a voice and for KentuckyOne Health a view into the patient’s perception about the care we provide.
  • The survey reports are publicly reported on the Internet, so results have an impact on our reputation and the decisions our community makes when choosing providers.
  • CMS (the government) will reimburse us on results, so excellent survey results help keep our organization financially strong.

The second question I am often asked is, “What does the HCAHPS survey ask?” There are eight overall domains:

  • Doctor Communication
  • Nurse Communication
  • Staff Responsiveness
  • Hospital Environment (cleanliness and quietness)
  • Medication Communication
  • Discharge Information
  • Food Services
  • Overall Rating of Hospital (scale of 1-10)

The third question I am often asked is, “What is the rating scale of the HCAHPS survey?” Patients are asked to rate us on these questions using the following scale:

  • NEVER—SOMETIMES—USUALLY—ALWAYS

The responses are listed exactly in that order. Only the percentage of those who rate us ALWAYS on these questions are publicly reported. The rating scale is based on frequency and consistency of how we address the areas in the survey. Below is an example:

  • How frequently did the physician or nurse communicate with you in a way that you understood?
As you can see by the survey domains above, every employee at KentuckyOne plays a role in the perception of our organization. Your engagement, your compassion, your expertise and your knowledge sets us apart. You make all the difference in how our patients feel about the service that is provided. In the coming weeks and months, we will be working on tactics that are evidence-based and have a direct impact on patient experience. We appreciate all you do and all you will do to deliver exceptional KentuckyOne service to our patients ALWAYS!