Want higher HCAHPS scores? Physician assistants may be key

Physician assistants, who work on the front line as major contributors to efforts to improve patient satisfaction, may often be overlooked by health leaders seeking to improve their scores, according to a post on the HealthAffairs blog.

"Much has been written about the pros and cons of tying reimbursement to patient satisfaction. Hospitals have hired 'chief experience officers;' updated decor; installed high quality sound, TV, and wireless Internet systems; and added more private rooms in the quest to please patients." Dawn Morton-Rias, who has worked as certified PA for 30 years, wrote in the post. "However, in the end it is about how patients feel about the way they were treated, the respect they received, the degree to which their questions were answered, and their understanding and buy-in to follow-up treatment and health maintenance."

By recognizing the pervasive presence of PAs in healthcare, including them in leadership positions where policies and clinical roles are defined, and understanding that they are educated and trained to work alongside physicians in patient-centered environments, health systems could improve culture, patient outcomes and scores, the author wrote.

Read the full post here.

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