Prepare for Child CAHPS with a “Bowling” Approach
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Prepare for Child CAHPS with a “Bowling” Approach

bowling-ball-approachA large number of children’s hospitals and health plans are now using some version of CAHPS related to children’s care and services.  While participation has been voluntary, many settings are involved in the extensive testing of these surveys and even more are already using them in anticipation of the day when the surveys will be required by payers (public and private), providers, and consumers for public reporting, quality management and improvement.

Child HCAHPS (for hospitals) and the Pediatric CAHPS (for health plans and medical practices) measure parent or guardian reports of their experience of their child’s inpatient care and also care by health plans and medical practices respectively.  Funding has come from the Pediatric Quality Measures Program (PQMP) by the federal Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Center of Excellence for Pediatric Quality Measurement (CEPQM).

In the initial (gigantic) testing phase, analyses demonstrated that top-box scores show substantial room for improvement and significant variation across hospitals, giving hospitals plenty of opportunity for quality improvement and growth toward being providers of choice in the public eye.

The questions are extensive.  For the numerous children’s settings that are already using CAHPS surveys for their pediatric services, I can just imagine the dozens of improvement initiatives that will spring up, focusing on each item that produces a low score — a shot-gun approach that runs the risk of creating what I see as “initiative fatigue.”

What strikes me most when I look at the survey items is the extensive focus on communication.  Not only are there many questions that ask about communication. There are also items that ask about something else, but would be positively influenced by improvements in communication.  Take a look at the questions and you‘ll see what I mean.

Consider a “bowling” approach to achieving exceptional performance on the pediatric CAHPS versions.  The front pin is COMMUNICATION, and when you hit it in the sweet spot, it impacts all the other pins. Imagine focusing on one objective–communication–not a multitude of objectives, and sparking significant improvement with that singular focus.

Learn about how the Language of Caring for Staff® program helps you prepare for Child CAHPS and achieve breakthroughs.

Two ways to learn:

There is no doubt that a strategic and effective focus on improving communication positions children’s hospitals and pediatric services for not only high scores on Child HCAHPS, but also for achieving improvements in patient safety, family engagement, physician and staff satisfaction, and positive outcomes.

Jill Golde is Partner with Language of Caring®, LLC. Contact Jill for information about the Language of Caring for Staff program.
jgolde@languageofcaring.com; 314-571-9607

Categories: Change and Transformation, Leadership, Patient Experience Strategies, Patient-Family Engagement

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