Patient Experience: What is HCAHPs Statute of Limitations?

With the penchant Americans have for all things European I have been wondering if there is a way to make a go of a business that combines Monster Truck events with Pamplona’s running of the bulls.  Could I make money building a business that brought the running of the bulls to cities throughout the US indoors?  I bet you could pour a few hundred truckloads of dirt on the floor of Texas Stadium, get a lot of people to pay for the privilege of trying to outrun the bulls, and fill the seventy-thousand seats at a hundred dollars a seat.  Perhaps we could combine it with “La Tomatina,” the annual tomato fight in Bunol, Spain where 100 tons of overripe tomatoes are thrown in the world’s largest food fight–those Spaniards sure have a knack for having a good time.  We could sell bags of rotten tomatoes at the concession stands.  Maybe the new Fox Sports Network would carry it live.

I spent the last several days in Tampa. I’ve been coming to Tampa since my parents retired there twenty-six years ago.  There has been highway construction each time I’ve been there.  They are still building roads in Tampa, and the construction takes traffic to a standstill. The good news is that you can get to anywhere you need to be in Tampa in ten minutes as long as you are driving a Klingon Battle Cruiser.

Some projects, like Tampa’s road construction, are not designed to end, they just go on and on, and people become so accustomed to the effort that sooner or later they no longer notice it.

Improving patient experience via HCAHPs is one such project.  How many years has your hospital been working at it?  What year is it planned to end?  Apparently there is no statute of limitations.

What is the net value of your investment?  Has there been or will there be return on the investment?  Will you be able to look back a few years from now a say with some degree of certainty that your efforts improved patient experience?  Do the efforts year in and year out seem to be focused on fixing what was already supposed to be fixed?

Best case with HCAHPs, maybe you will be able to look back and say that all you really achieved was avoiding the penalty.

In Tampa when they finish building a road, they move the equipment and the builders to another area and build a different road.  They do not build a road, tear it down, and then build the same road again and again.  That would be silly.

2 thoughts on “Patient Experience: What is HCAHPs Statute of Limitations?

  1. While roads in Tampa help you get from one place to another and improved customer service helps you (hopefully) get the best of our health system (better outcomes), the completion of a road is more “concrete” than the delivery of excellent customer service. The latter is dependent on the needs of the individual patient/family member. It is never “one and done” and asks all health care members (all, not just clinical providers) to find out what the needs are and do their best to respond to them. As our customers become more educated, we need to keep pace and continue to identify ways of first identifying and then meeting the customers’ definition of excellent service.

    While the demands on our staff also increase, it is important for our leaders to treat our staff members as customers… working to identify their needs and seeing how we might be able to respond to them as well — and when the response is less than requested, sharing the reasons with our adult staff members.


  2. Paul,

    I enjoy your creative writing to make your very serious points. It is true that patient experience is not “once and done” like highway construction. But, like Tampa highway construction, it is a continuous improvement process.

    From a training perspective, we are working on staff interactions with families of very sick patients to manage their expectations and demands on staff. Often the experience of the friends and families around the patient can influence the whole episode of care. Our input from staff has been that the patients are not the source of most complaints, but rather the demands of their families and loved ones that really stress the system. I thought that was interesting. Does patient experience measurement take this into consideration?



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s