Australia is embarking on a major journey to put patients at the center of decision-making in the healthcare system. In order for us to understand how the patient experience landscape in Australia will change over the coming decade, we can observe the trends in the US as an example.
The pioneering hospitals in the US that invested in measuring and improving the Patient Experience did so because they believed was the ‘right thing to do’. This first phase was driven by the investment of ‘early adopters’. Their leadership had a belief that patients should be involved in various committees in the hospital’s administration to influence service delivery.
The next big phase that brought greater change to the system was the public reporting of quality measures by the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services, the primary funder in the US. This reporting of Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey on hospital websites drove senior leaders to take a greater focus on metrics that were important to patients.
Note that there is a difference between active reporting and passive reporting. As more active reporting occurs on various websites, and those findings communicated broadly, the greater the pressure on hospitals to be accountable to their results.
Transparency breeds trust, and greater public reporting should bring greater trust and engagement with the patient community.
The subsequent phase took approximately four years from the initiation of public reporting in the US for funding to be specifically tied to Patient-Reported Outcome Measures and Patient Reported Experience Measures (Satisfaction Scores). These value-based payments will increase from 1% in 2015 of the hospital’s funding to higher percentages over the coming years. It demonstrates a great commitment from the US health system to align its payment incentives to what patients really need and want from their healthcare.
I would expect similar trends to play out in Australia. Though, I expect we may be quicker in our adoption of patient-centred measures to drive change.
On another note, while in Dallas for the Beryl Institute Patient Experience Conference 2016, I connected with Jeff Kauffman a CEO from the aged-care (assisted living) sector in the US, who had a couple of secrets on aligning staff incentives with the resident experience in such facilities.
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