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HCAHPS Scores and Survey: 20 Ways on How to Improve Patients Satisfaction Scores

Updated: Nov 9, 2023

Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) is a patient satisfaction survey designed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) in collaboration with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

The HCAHPS survey aims to help government agencies collect and accumulate data on patients’ feedback and perspectives of care provided at various healthcare facilities in the United States.

The data from the HCAHPS survey are used to compare healthcare facilities across a variety of metrics. The HCAHPS scores also help to provide information about the relative standard of care at each healthcare facility to patients or healthcare consumers.

The data from the HCAHPS survey are also used as a benchmark to create incentives for healthcare facilities to compete on patient engagement and satisfaction.

Patients Who Qualify for the HCAHPS Survey

Every patient is not expected to participate in the HCAHPS survey. Participating hospitals or healthcare facilities are expected to obtain at least 300 HCAHPS surveys over a 12-month period from eligible patients.

A patient needs to meet certain criteria to be eligible. The eligibility criteria include:

  • A patient must be 18 years of age or older when admitted to the hospital.

  • A patient must have at least one overnight stay in inpatient care at the healthcare facility.

  • A patient must have non-psychiatric diagnosis at discharge.

  • A patient must be alive at the time of discharge.

What are HCAHPS Scores Used For?

Eligible discharged patients are randomly selected to participate in the HCAHPS survey. The data collected from the survey is submitted to the HCAHPS data warehouse.

The data is then analyzed by United States Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) officials and publicly reported to consumers on the Hospital Compare website.

On the Hospital Compare website, healthcare consumers can compare up to three hospitals at a time across several performance categories informed by HCAHPS scores.

How to Improve HCAHPS Scores?

The HCAHPS scores are a product of patient satisfaction. The HCAHPS scores of a particular healthcare facility can either be high or low depending on whether patients are satisfied with their healthcare delivery and services.

HCAHPS survey encourages healthcare providers to emphasize patient experience and engagement as critical aspects of healthcare delivery.

Healthcare providers can improve their HCAHPS scores in various ways.

Communicating Clearly and Frequently with Patients

Healthcare providers can improve their HCAHPS scores by frequently communicating with their patients in a clear manner. It is important that healthcare providers communicate with their patients’ right from the beginning of their treatments to when they’re discharged.

Patients need to have a clear understanding of their diagnosis and treatments. They need to know the medications or treatments that they’re given, the side effects of the treatments or medications, and all other important information.

Effective communication between healthcare providers and their patients will go a long way in helping their patients recover. This will also foster a seamless relationship between healthcare providers and their patients.

Providing and Maintaining a Positive Healthcare Environment

The healthcare environment should be welcoming and conducive for patients. By providing a positive healthcare environment for patients, healthcare providers help to promote wellness and recovery of their patients.

A welcoming and conducive environment makes patients feel at ease and comfortable during treatments. Patients need to be in a serene and quiet environment to recover quickly.

Demonstrating Exceptional Healthcare Delivery

The quality of healthcare services provided by healthcare providers is very important. Healthcare providers should demonstrate exceptional healthcare delivery at all times. They should always provide high-quality services to their patients.

Medical providers should be qualified and experienced in their various fields. They should always provide exceptional treatments and care to their patients to encourage quick recovery.

Using State-of-the-art Equipment and Technology

The medical field is constantly evolving, where new innovations are developed consistently. Medical providers should provide their treatments and services using state-of-the-art equipment and technology.

They should consistently seek the newest and most advanced technology and equipment in providing medical services to patients. This will foster better service delivery and faster patient recovery.

Commitment to Patient Well-being

Healthcare providers should be committed to patient well-being. They should pay keen attention to the plight of their patients and provide professional advice whenever necessary.

They should see their patients as family and work closely with them throughout their recovery.

Commitment to Patient Satisfaction

Healthcare providers should be committed to patients’ satisfaction. The satisfaction of patients is paramount to favourable HCAHPS scores. If patients are not satisfied with the services rendered by healthcare providers, they will provide negative feedback.

Healthcare providers should ensure that patients get the best treatments and services. Patients should be satisfied with the services they get from when they walk into a hospital or healthcare facility to when they’re discharged.

They should be attended to professionally by every staff member, including the receptionist, nurses, and doctors.

Providing Help to Patients as Soon as Wanted

Healthcare providers should provide help to patients as soon as they are wanted. Some patients require urgent help and attention. Something can go wrong when this help and attention is not provided as soon as possible.

Healthcare providers should have emergency services that attend to patients immediately they are called upon. They should be able to answer calls and emails from patients immediately they are received.

Cleaning Patients’ Rooms and Bathrooms

Patients should always be in a clean environment. There shouldn’t be any dirt or dirt fluid in the room where a patient stays.

Patients’ rooms and bathrooms should always be cleaned as often as possible to ensure they are sparkling clean and devoid of germs or bacteria. Medical facilities should employ cleaners that can always keep patients’ rooms and bathrooms clean.

Patients’ Rooms Should be Quiet

A patient room should always be quiet to help the patient recover. A noisy environment is not good for patients. It can affect their recovery and even cause some adverse problems.

A patient should be kept in a cool and quiet room where there is no noise or disturbances. This will help the patient recover quickly without any external issues.

Patients Should be Provided with Aids and Safety Equipment

Healthcare providers should ensure that their patients are safe at all times. They should be provided with safety equipment and aids that help them throughout their stay in the hospital. Some patients may require crutches to walk, sleeping aids, and so on.

Healthcare providers should talk with their patients to know what they want and how to help them feel more comfortable throughout their stay in the hospital.

Medicines Should be Clearly Explained Before They’re Given to Patients

Healthcare providers should always explain the medicines they want to give their patients before giving them. By explaining the medicines, patients will know what the medicines are for, the dosage, and side effects.

Safety Guidelines and Regulations Should Be Followed When Providing Treatments

Healthcare providers should always follow safety guidelines and regulations when providing treatments to patients. Medical treatments have their own safety rules and guidelines. When these rules and guidelines are not followed, it can lead to negative consequences.

Healthcare providers should always adhere to all safety guidelines and regulations when providing medical treatments and surgical procedures to ensure the safety of their patients and quick recovery.

Information Should Be Provided To Patients About What To Do During Their Recovery At Home

Even after a patient is discharged from the hospital, necessary information should be provided to the patient about what he or she should do during recovery at home.

A patient being discharged should know what he or she should do at home to foster quick recovery. Aftercare instructions should be provided to the patient so that the patient can know what to do to encourage quick recovery.

Respect Your Patients

All members of staff must respect patients. Right from the moment a patient walks into your healthcare facility until he or she leaves, the patient must feel a sense of respect from staff members. Patients shouldn’t be insulted or ignored for whatever reasons.

They should be given their deserved respect regardless of their physical appearance, race, sex, or economic standings.

Optimize the Appointment Scheduling Process

Patients should find it easy to schedule appointments with healthcare providers. A seamless and well-managed appointment scheduling system should be put in place to allow for easy and quick appointment scheduling.

The office phone lines should also be kept open during working hours so that patients can call in whenever they need assistance.

The Billing and Payment Process Should Be Simplified

Apart from the scheduling process, patients should also find it easy to make payments. The billing process should be done professionally and automated to make payment quick and seamless.

Hospital bills should be accurately estimated and explained for quick understanding before they’re sent to patients.

Healthcare Providers Should Be Accessible At All Times

As a healthcare provider, it is important that you’re accessible at all times. Patients are often disappointed and unhappy when they’re unable to reach their doctors when the need arises.

Patients feel more at ease when they’re able to communicate directly with their doctors. Healthcare providers should consider exchanging their mobile phone lines with their patients so that they can reach them directly in case of emergencies or when the need arises.

Healthcare Providers Should Foster Long-Term Relationships with Patients

Healthcare providers should endeavor to foster long-term relationships with their patients. Most patients are happy and satisfied when they have a good relationship with their doctors. It is also important that other members of the staff develop a good relationship with patients.

Protect Patient’s Confidentiality

Medical providers should always protect patients’ confidentiality. Most patients’ health information is of a sensitive nature and should be kept private from third parties.

Your staff and other third parties must respect patients' information sensitivity and keep them safe. Patients’ sensitive information should always be kept confidential and safe.


Medical providers should endeavor to follow up on their patients even after they’re discharged from the hospital.

Follow-up appointments should be scheduled to monitor patients until they fully recover. Follow-up calls and emails can also be sent to patients from the hospital to monitor their recovery.

Patient Satisfaction Survey Questions in Healthcare

Patient satisfaction survey questions help healthcare providers better understand patients’ needs to provide quality healthcare for patients.

Below are some patient satisfaction survey questions in healthcare:

  • What is your rating on the professionalism of our staff?

  • What is your rating on the cleanliness and hygiene at our medical facility?

  • How would you rate your healthcare provider when it comes to conducting a diagnosis?

  • What is your rating of your healthcare provider when it comes to prescribing medications?

  • How would you rate the overall healthcare delivery of our medical personnel?

  • How long did you wait to see the doctor?

  • Did your doctor explain the side effects of the medicines prescribed to you?

  • How long did your doctor spend with you?

  • How satisfied were you with the attention and care shown to you by your medical provider?

  • How frequently did you visit our medical facility?

  • For how many months or years have you been visiting our medical facility?

  • How would you rate our medical facility based on our concern for your privacy?

  • How would you rate our staff’s willingness to answer your medical questions and inquiries?

  • How would you rate our medical facility's overall healthcare and services?

How to Measure Patient Satisfaction in Healthcare

Healthcare providers can measure patient satisfaction by gathering and reviewing data from patients. Patient satisfaction surveys capture assessments of patients of multiple touch points and areas of healthcare delivery during their medical care experience.

Depending on what aspect of patient satisfaction is being measured, healthcare providers can measure patient satisfaction from the data collected from the surveys.

Importance of Patient Satisfaction in Healthcare

  • Patient satisfaction in healthcare can help providers identify their practices' strengths.

  • Patient satisfaction can help promote the practices of healthcare providers to attract new patients.

  • Patient satisfaction can foster patient loyalty.

  • Patient satisfaction leads to better clinical outcomes and fewer medical malpractice suits.

How can healthcare professionals help achieve customer satisfaction in a patient care setting?

Healthcare professionals can help achieve customer satisfaction in a patient care setting by providing patient-focused healthcare delivery. High-quality and exceptional medical care should be provided to patients to ensure their recovery and satisfaction.

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