At Mid-Columbia Medical Center our commitment is to meet or exceed expectations and create an exceptional experience for the patient and their family that results in industry leading levels of patient satisfaction. To monitor achievement of this goal, MCMC measures patient satisfaction using various techniques.

To measure the satisfaction of patients cared for as inpatients, MCMC contracts with an independent, private market research company to conduct a telephone survey of 100 discharged patients each month. In addition to the questions included in the survey the callers capture narrative comments from patients in response to open ended questions. The results, including the narrative comments, are delivered to the hospital's executive staff and shared with the management team for investigation and corrective action if necessary.

Measuring Hospital Quality

Over the past few years the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have been working toward developing a standardized instrument to evaluate hospital quality as part of their Hospital Quality Initiative (HQI). The instrument that is now being used is known as the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, or HCAHPS.

The intent of the HCAHPS, is to introduce a standardized survey instrument and data collection methodology for measuring and publicly reporting patients' perspectives of hospital care. While many hospitals collect information on patient satisfaction, until the HCAHPS initiative there has been no national standard for collecting or publicly reporting information that would allow valid comparisons to be made across hospitals.

Three broad goals have shaped HCAHPS:

  1. The survey is designed to produce data on patients' perspectives of care that allow objective and meaningful comparison of hospitals on topics that are important to consumers.
  2. Public reporting of the survey results is designed to create incentives for hospitals to improve quality of care.
  3. Public reporting will serve to enhance public accountability in health care by increasing the transparency of the quality of hospital care provided.

With these goals in mind, the HCAHPS project has taken substantial steps to assure that the survey will be credible, useful, and practical.

The HCAHPS has only been in active use since October 2006 and participation is voluntary. In an effort to share information about hospital quality Mid-Columbia Medical Center has chosen to be among some of the first hospitals to participate and make public the results of this survey.

For more information on the CMS Hospital Quality Initiative or HCAHPS please visit the following websites.
www.cms.hhs.gov/HospitalQualityInits
www.hcahpsonline.org