Read Time: 3 minutes The HCAHPS acronym stands for Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems. The HCAHPS is a survey that asks patients questions about healthcare facilities. Patients are asked to assess the quality of care and other aspects of a facility. The survey evaluates the patient experience with doctors and nurses, discharge, hospital cleanliness, medicine, and pain management. The survey is administered via phone and mail.

Understanding the Benefits of HCAHPS Scores for Rural Hospitals

Specifics of the survey

The HCAHPS is a questionnaire with at least 27 questions about a patient’s experience. The test is conducted randomly and distributed to patients at least two days after discharge. The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 requires hospitals that receive inpatient prospective payment system (IPPS) payments to submit HCAHPS data to receive annual payment updates. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) of 2010 also has requirements for using HCAHPS.

How does HCAHPS benefit rural hospitals?

The HCAHPS brings facility problems to the forefront to help facilities change procedures and behaviors that are negatively affecting patients. Research has revealed that larger, urban hospitals struggle with low HCAHPS scores. Rural hospitals tend to have more favorable scores, largely because these hospitals are able to cater to the smaller populations.

In less populous areas, patients tend to develop closer relationships with healthcare personnel. Furthermore, healthcare providers in rural areas can allocate a significant amount of time and resources to each patient. Therefore, patients feel like the provider is providing optimal care. Results from the HCAHPS are publicly reported so consumers can see how each facility measures up.

What can a facility do with a high HCAHPS score?

HCAHPS has a published directory that shows hospital ratings based on the quality of care and overall excellence. Patients can use this information to find the right facilities to meet healthcare needs. Hospitals can also use this information to petition for more funding through the government or other avenues. High scores will also attract patients to healthcare facilities. Rural hospitals that achieve good scores can use the HCAHPS survey to boost reputation and bring in more patients.