Improving your HCAHPS survey results with real-time feedback

Since its inception in 2006, the HCAHPS survey has been the US government’s gold standard for evaluating the quality of care in hospitals. Patient Experience Leaders in hospitals across the country are more focused than ever on delivering the quality, patient-centred care that’s reflected in their HCAHPS survey scores.

The results of the HCAHPS survey help the government make decisions about funding, making it crucial to act on them. However, because HCAHPS surveys are implemented by telephone, mail or interactive voice recognition (IVR) submission and data collection can take weeks or months.

Fast and actionable data

Many hospitals are now looking for supplemental feedback systems that give them fast, specific, and actionable data to ensure that they can quickly and easily gather feedback to help gauge and improve how people are feeling about their hospital experience.

About the HCAHPS survey

The HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) survey was created as a national standard for comparing the performance of hospitals across the US. The goal was to create accountability, incentives, and a universal scoring system for hospitals. It consists of 29 questions delivered by phone, mail, or interactive voice recognition, administered between 48 hours and six weeks after a patient has been discharged.

Survey results are publicly accessible and are posted as an aggregate of four consecutive quarters of patient surveys. They’re updated quarterly, with the latest reported quarter re-placing the oldest quarter of the previous report.

What questions does the HCAHPS survey ask?

The HCAHPS survey asks patients general questions about care from nurses, care from doctors, hospital cleanliness, experiences during the hospital stay, discharge, and aftercare. It’s formatted as a multiple-choice survey, with most questions on a 4-point evaluation scale. The survey is also weighted to reflect discrepancies in external factors that might influence patient responses—such as whether the survey is delivered over the phone or via mail.

The HCAHPS team also offers Narrative Item Sets that can be used in conjunction with the survey, to capture patient narratives. These are a set of open-ended questions designed to get at more specific issues surrounding patient care. However, Narrative Item Sets can be a challenge to analyze at larger scales without a system in place to pinpoint the issues they address.

Real-time Feedback Improves Experiences


Real-time feedback involves capturing the thoughts and feelings of customers at the time of experience or immediately after an interaction. This “in-the-moment” feedback yields higher accuracy and greater response rates.

Capture feedback from customers, employees, patients, students, and passengers. Insights gleaned from the feedback gathered can then be used to create better experiences.


How real-time feedback can help

With real-time feedback, administrators can make key improvements before they become results on the HCAHPS survey. Real-time feedback kiosks allow patients to voice their opinions at key points of care—near hospital reception, in cafés, and in waiting rooms, for example. Shorter, more focused surveys can help administrators better understand the HCAHPS results in terms of specific issues in their hospital.

  • Fix issues before they start: ViewPoint kiosks include dashboards updated in real time that show response averages, eliminating the lag time between feedback collection and potential action. Patients can offer feedback directly after they receive care, and the people that need to see it can view the feedback immediately. Alerts can be sent to key individuals when immediate action is critical, meaning problems can be fixed before they become major issues.

  • Update surveys as concerns change: When change happens quickly, hospitals must be ready to adapt quickly as well. New technology, changing political climates, and public health concerns can all impact the patient experience, which is then captured in HCAHPS scores. With fully customizable surveys, PELs have the flexibility to update questions as patient concerns change, which helps maintain responsive standards of care.

  • Create unique surveys for different points of care: Administrators can also create different surveys for each point of care for their patient population to identify specific units or care models that need improvement. Instead of costly, large, scale improvements to the whole clinic or hospital, administrators can pinpoint and fix specific problems.

With easy to read, multilingual and accessible surveys, kiosks can capture a bigger cross-section of the patient population. Questions can be one-stop rating scales, or include optional free text fields to give patients the chance to leave specific feedback—so patient narratives can be matched with quantitative scales. Touchless technology with an antimicrobial clear film ensures that kiosks remain safe for patients and guests.

Feedback systems are a patient experience intervention

Patient-centred care starts with a patient-centred culture. Although real-time feedback can’t replace the HCAHPS survey, it can help you understand where you can improve to get better results. A good result on the HCAHPS survey is a clean bill of health, while real-time feedback keeps a finger on the pulse of your hospital. Working together, they can help administrators make the critical interventions they need for a better patient experience.

About ViewPoint survey solutions

ViewPoint helps organisations to radically improve the quality of their services. Our interactive feedback technology engages with customers, employees and stakeholders to understand their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the experience they encountered.

Our unique smiley face surveys attract, engage, and encourage users to leave their thoughts. Four reasons feedback kiosks are the preferred feedback collection method:

  • Lower cost customer survey solution
  • Suitable for all environments
  • Reliable and always on
  • Highly accurate insights


Find out more about how real-time surveys can help you assess customer and staffing issues, monitor improvements, and compare departments to deliver the best service possible.


Do you need a smart way to collect feedback?


Welcome to ViewPoint, the world’s leading provider of feedback solutions – including kiosks & online surveys.

ViewPoint’s feedback solutions are the smart way to collect feedback from your people in your spaces.

Whoever they are.

Wherever they are

Read more about collecting customer and employee feedback

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