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The Rise of the Patient Experience Department

Posted by Melissa Herrett on Dec 17, 2014 9:30:00 AM

There was a point in history when hospitals and healthcare organizations focused solely on treating an illness. Patients were in some ways viewed as a sum of their ailments. The objective was to resolve the issue and heal the patient as quickly as possible. The volume of patients was the goal – get more patients through the organization in a quicker amount of time, and the healthcare organization would be viewed as successful. Additionally, under the reimbursement model, organizations would receive more payment.

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Q4 2014 CAHPS Survey Updates

Posted by Greg Hyman on Dec 16, 2014 8:46:29 AM

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With the world of CAHPS and value-based purchasing evolving rapidly, many patient experience leaders find it difficult to keep a pulse on the latest developments. At Avatar, we leverage our network of industry insiders, alliances, and dedicated research team to keep our clients and contacts informed about the changes that impact their businesses. If your organization currently uses a CAHPS survey or may do so in the future, the following are a few recent updates you should know about.

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Topics: CAHPS, CAHPS Surveys

4 Tips for Analyzing CG-CAHPS Scores

Posted by Greg Hyman on Dec 9, 2014 9:09:21 AM

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While collecting patient feedback is nothing new for most medical groups, the approach of value-based purchasing for the clinic setting has introduced fresh urgency to groups’ survey programs. Many are implementing the standard national survey, Clinician & Group CAHPS (CG-CAHPS or CGCAHPS), and discovering new challenges as they align their practices with the reimbursement model that will have a profound impact on their business.

These developments also shine a spotlight on groups’ patient experience leaders. More than ever before, there is now great pressure for these leaders to ensure their groups are equipped with the right analytical tools and resources to inform successful improvement initiatives.

Unfortunately, many patient experience leaders have found the industry rife with convoluted, inflexible, unhelpful survey reporting solutions that don’t do the one thing they need to do – help users understand current performance and clear a path to meaningful improvement. For these leaders, the following is a list of several tips for simplifying CG-CAHPS analyses to get at what really matters.

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Topics: CAHPS, CAHPS Reporting, CG-CAHPS

Tips for a Cost-Effective Employee Engagement Survey

Posted by Brian Ellis on Dec 4, 2014 11:47:00 AM

With the rising costs of, well, everything, companies are continuously looking for different ways to trim their budgets.  More often than not, one of the first areas cut is the annual employee survey.  However, investing in an employee survey upfront can unearth areas of long-term cost savings for your organization that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.  Lucky for you, I’m here to give you a few tips on how to conduct a cost-effective employee engagement survey.

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3 Reasons to Get HR Involved in Your CAHPS Survey Program

Posted by Greg Hyman on Nov 26, 2014 10:21:24 AM

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With the healthcare industry’s increasing focus on aligning culture for payments based on value, it’s natural that patient experience management has recently burgeoned into an independent discipline. High-profile executive roles and entire departments are now frequently devoted to improving the patient experience, allowing the organizations that can afford these investments to make impressive headway via centralized, well-coordinated improvement processes.

At these organizations, formal responsibility for improving patients’ experiences, as measured by CAHPS surveys and other patient experience surveys, often rests principally on the patient experience leader’s shoulders. But whereas the line of accountability for positive change is clear, these leaders cannot and do not act alone in building a care experience that exceeds expectations. From their first days on the job, successful patient experience leaders are building key relationships, earning trust, generating buy-in, and directly engaging other leaders and departments in the organization’s latest improvement initiatives.

Of the departments who work in concert with patient experience executives to drive improvement, one of the most important – and too-often overlooked – is the HR department. If your own patient experience initiatives have not yet benefitted from close collaboration with HR leadership, this article shares three important reasons why you must get your HR team involved today.

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Topics: CAHPS Surveys

Why CG-CAHPS Does Not Replace Patient Experience Surveys

Posted by Melissa Herrett on Nov 24, 2014 1:18:06 PM

Just as HCAHPS surveys provide a standardized instrument to assess care in the inpatient hospital setting, the Clinician and Group CAHPS (CG-CAHPS) survey offers a standardized measurement of the care you receive in a medical office.  While not yet nationally mandated, CMS is expected to require the use of this survey in the near future. Regardless of whether the survey is required, CG-CAHPS is an important resource clinics and provider groups should use to assess patient care, as we’ve recommended in past blog posts.  

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Topics: patient experience survey,, CG-CAHPS, patient experience surveys

Classic Thanksgiving Rituals for the Workplace

Posted by Brian Ellis on Nov 20, 2014 10:52:00 AM

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Stores have had their holiday decorations up for the last seven weeks, which can mean only one thing – Thanksgiving is almost here!  I can’t recall a single day over the past six months where it pushed 90 degrees in Chicago, yet the holidays are quickly approaching. It’s time to reunite with our extended families, start checking how much vacation time we have to use before the end of the year, and dig out our winter clothes (including the belt with the extra notch you made haphazardly with a hammer and nail).  Believe me, that belt is going to come in handy for all of the Thanksgiving meals you will eat, including the company-sponsored lunch.

Each year for Thanksgiving, Avatar sets aside a few hours to host a catered lunch and watch a movie in the conference room.  This lunch provides a great opportunity to get into the holiday spirit, officially ruin our diets with slice after slice of pumpkin pie, and catch up with coworkers who sit on the other side of the office, which, to some of us, is basically Narnia.

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Five Key Steps for Managing a Patient Survey Transition

Posted by Greg Hyman on Nov 19, 2014 3:47:50 PM


At one time or another, nearly every healthcare organization faces the prospect of transitioning their patient survey process. Whether outgrowing an in-house survey program or switching vendors, tackling a new implementation can feel daunting. There are, however, several key approaches and resources that nearly guarantee a smooth, successful transition. Here are a few Avatar clients have found to be highly successful:

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Topics: CAHPS, Patient Surveys

Updates on Emerging CAHPS Instruments

Posted by Greg Hyman on Nov 13, 2014 4:57:30 PM


This year has seen a number of exciting developments to existing and emerging CAHPS instruments. Now, with just a few months of 2014 left, we expect CMS to release updates on several surveys before 2015 arrives. The new year will certainly bring a host of developments, as well. The following are four CAHPS surveys we expect to hear more news about in the coming months, as well as the status of each.

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Topics: CAHPS

A Step-by-Step Plan for Increasing Provider Confidence in CG-CAHPS

Posted by Greg Hyman on Nov 11, 2014 9:48:51 AM

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In Avatar’s work with provider groups across the country, we’ve observed firsthand the extent to which each group is truly unique – from the communities you care for, to the services you offer and the evolving pressures to which you must constantly adapt.

But when it comes to preparing for value-based purchasing, a notable duality is shared among many forward-thinking, preeminent organizations. The duality, and challenge, is this: Leading groups understand the importance of collecting and acting upon patient feedback. They regularly survey their patients or plan to do so. They are committed to constant improvement. But many are hampered by a lack of faith in patient surveys, tools that are central to the positive feedback loop.

However, many organizations have overcome this significant barrier to improvement. Based on practices used by our most successful clients, the following step-by-step plan highlights key methods for increasing provider confidence in Clinician and Group CAHPS (CG-CAHPS or CGCAHPS) surveys. 

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Topics: CG-CAHPS

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