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HCAHPS, pronounced “H-caps,” is a survey patients and others can use to compare hospitals in terms of how they view their care experiences.

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Visier HR Glossary

What is HCAHPS?

HCAHPS, or the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, is a “national, standardized, publicly reported survey of patients’ perspectives of hospital care.” Pronounced “H-caps” the survey provides a means for patients and others to compare hospitals in terms of how patients view their care experiences. HCAHPS was established in 2002 through a partnership between the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

How well hospitals do on the HCAHPS survey determines their reimbursement from CMS. The lower the score, the lower their reimbursement.

How the HCAHPS survey works

HCAHPS is a hospital-specific survey consistently of 27 questions that are given randomly to patients who have been discharged from a hospital between 2 days and 6 weeks after discharge. The survey evaluates nursing care, physician care, the hospital environment, the patient experience in the hospital as well as their experience after discharge in terms of follow-up, and their overall rating of the hospital.

Because reimbursement is tied to these scores, hospitals are obviously concerned about how well their staff members do in providing care and communicating with patients. They recognize that the employee experience is directly reflected in the patient experience. 

Healthcare employees and their impact on HCAHPS

Healthcare is a service industry. Consequently, people have a significant impact on how patients evaluate the care they receive. In fact, 86% of healthcare executives say that their staff plays a critical role in helping them maintain strong patient satisfaction scores. 

Creating an engaging culture for staff has been especially challenging for healthcare organizations during the pandemic as staff has had to deal with high patient demand in addition to their own concerns about COVID’s impact on them and their families. Caring for employees is a critical first step in providing the best care for patients.

People analytics can help hospitals, and other organizations, stay on top of critical metrics related to employee satisfaction and engagement such as absenteeism and overtime, unwanted turnover and overall satisfaction. Managing the employee experience effectively helps hospitals maintain high HCAHPS scores to ensure maximum reimbursement for their services.

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