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What is patient experience?

Patient experience is defined as the “the sum of all interactions, shaped by an organization’s culture, that influence patient perceptions across the continuum of care.”More than cleanliness, quiet at night, or transitions in care, surveys show that patient experience is mainly affected by communication. In fact, over 50 percent of the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) 2016 survey consists of questions pertaining to patient feedback on being respected, listened to, or having treatment or services explained in a way that is easy to understand. The survey results are made available to the public and allow patients and families to make objective and meaningful comparisons among hospitals on topics important to them. As the Institute for HealthCare Consumerism states, “Patients are increasingly taking an active role in their care experience and are evermore empowered to choose their own care alternatives.”2 This fact alone has required healthcare administrators to develop a more active and deeper appreciation for monitoring their patients’ experience.

Why is it important to measure patient experience?

Healthcare systems are often complicated and fragmented; patients and their families are exhausted by maneuvering through appointments, tests, and physician visits. Prioritizing patient experience can be a win-win by decreasing these types of burdens on patients while strengthening the hospital’s financial performance. A study released in 2011 found that higher overall patient satisfaction and satisfaction with discharge planning are associated with lower 30-day, risk-standardized hospital readmission rates after adjusting for clinical quality. This finding suggests that patient-centered information can have an important role in the evaluation and management of hospital performance.3

Public and private payers have noticed the effect that positive patient experience can have on hospital performance, and many have started incorporating experience metrics and standards into quality benchmarks tied to payments. In 2016, under CMS’ Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program (VBP), payments to hospitals are adjusted based on performance in four domains of care that reflect hospital quality, and patient experience currently accounts for 25 percent.By 2020, the world of cancer care will adopt a value-based framework whereby providers will be reimbursed based on cost and quality, and, ultimately, patients will choose to entrust their care to those with a proven record of success.

How can patient experience be measured?

As the focus on cancer treatment broadens to include the entire continuum of care, providers increasingly have opportunities to enhance patient experience, from outreach and screening through survivorship and/or end-of-life care. The table below identifies a sample set of metrics that cancer programs can collect to track patient experience.

Oncology Solutions is a trusted advisor with a proven patient experience assessment and education program in the following areas:

  • Staff knowledge of patient experience
  • Physical environmental assessment
  • Patient efficiency and access
  • Quality outcomes and patient safety

Our comprehensive patient experience assessment and recommendations include evidence-based national standards, best practice resources, and program checklist assessments by area. Let us help you develop these customized tools and ensure your cancer program is functioning at its highest level. Contact us today at 404.836.2000 or [email protected] to discuss our oncology consulting capabilities. At Oncology Solutions, we are reimagining cancer care—one program at a time.


LaVela, Sherri L., PhD, MPH, MBA, and Andrew S. Gallan, PhD. “Evaluation and Measurement of Patient Experience.”  Patient Experience Journal. The Beryl Institute, Apr. 2014. Web.http://pxjournal.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1003&context=journal.
“The Consumerization of Healthcare: What Patient Experience Means to Our Future.” The Institute for HealthCare Consumerism. Web.http://www.theihcc.com/en/communities/health_care_consumerism/the-consumerization-of-healthcare-what-patient-exp_h333dkhj.html.
Boulding, William, PhD, Seth W. Glickman, MD, MBA, Matthew P. Manary, MSE, Kevin A. Schulman, MD, and Richard Staelin, PhD. “Relationship Between Patient Satisfaction With Inpatient Care and Hospital Readmission Within 30 Days.” AJMC Managed Markets Network. The American Journal of Managed Care , Jan. 2011. Web. http://www.ajmc.com/journals/issue/2011/2011-1-vol17-n1/ajmc_11jan_boulding_41to48/P-3.
“Hospital Value-Based Purchasing.” Medicare.gov. Web.https://www.medicare.gov/hospitalcompare/data/hospital-vbp.html.