The Importance of the Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating
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What Comprises the Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating

By David Fetterolf, Stratus Video President

As of July 2016, hospitals have additional incentive to improve the quality of care provided in their facilities. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) implemented the Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating System to allow patients, family members and caregivers to better compare hospitals based on care quality.

The overall rating is composed of up to 64 quality measures. Ratings are publicly reported and can be accessed online via the CMS Hospital Compare website. Hospitals earn anywhere from one to five stars, five being the top score. The most common overall rating is three stars. Hospitals with high star ratings have been shown to place great emphasis on patient satisfaction, consumer perception, patient engagement and care improvement. Measures are divided into the following seven categories: mortality, safety of care, readmission, patient experience, care effectiveness, care timeliness and efficient use of medical imaging.

Twenty two percent of the rating is based on patient satisfaction, which is pulled from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey, also implemented by CMS. The HCAHPS survey is given to discharged patients in an effort to gauge their satisfaction level with their experience while in the hospital. Considering that nearly a fifth of the overall star rating is based on the satisfaction metric, many hospitals are in search of ways to improve their overall patient experience.

For hospitals with significant limited English proficient patient populations, the overall satisfaction has been shown to rise through the use of language services. Research indicates that patients with access to qualified language services experience improved satisfaction with care, compliance with treatments and understanding of conditions. Download our eBook Improving Your HCAHPS Scores: Driving Patient Satisfaction and Empathetic Care for more helpful tips to improve patient satisfaction at your facility.

The easy accessibility of the Hospital Compare website heightens patient visibility into the Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating. Ratings impact hospitals either negatively or positively depending on the scores. High ratings bring facilities to light on a national level that may otherwise go unnoticed, attracting more patients. Poor ratings, on the other hand, can negatively impact financial stability, as a low star rating may deter new patients from attending. Visit the Hospital Compare website to see how hospital star ratings compare in your area.

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