The validity and relevance of the HCAPHS survey in today’s diverse American population are notable challenges. HCAPHS metrics are based upon mailed surveys distributed to patients who have visited a hospital in the last 6 months or so. Response rates are remarkably low – any decent survey company or direct mail house would be ashamed at their response rates (we are talking 1 – 2% on average). Resultant ratings also significantly under-represent patients who are non-Caucasian Americans. So the question of how diverse patients value and how well they are being served by these hospitals cannot be known from CMS data. There are also high-risk disease challenges among specific ethnic populations that are not able to be evaluated in terms of benefit (outcomes). COPD, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and hepatitis B and C viruses are prime examples of this.
PCCQ: Patient-centered Cultural Intelligence is a comprehensive means for hospitals to evaluate how well their ethnically diverse patients (and other affinities or cultural groups, including gender, religious, social, et al) are being served. First, we look at the HCAPHS and other ACO metrics that may be positively impacted by a focus on PCCQ. More specifically, we’ve identified 32 specific metrics that make up a PCCQ Center of Excellence.
Next, we conduct a PCCQ Executive Survey, interviewing all or most of the leadership of the hospital, to assess their motivate to serve their diverse patient base. Using methods established by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (which we were involved in developing and validating. and which is published), we test for current perception of PCCQ performance, valence, expectancy, and instrumentality. These allow us quantify the level of motivation and thus likelihood of a hospital to be successful with PCCQ related transformation. If likely to fail, we walk away (or leaders need to make a major mindshift). If the leaders’ motivation ratings are sufficiently high, then we evaluate each hospital for 4 PCCQ Impact Areas:
1) Patient Experience
2) Hospital Performance
3) [Provider] Network Performance
4) Community Health
Next, we model the 5 PCCQ Touchpoints for the hospital – points at which the patient is impacted in some way by their engagement with the hospital, and evaluate how well the hospital is doing in each of these.
With hospital IRB (Institutional Review Board) approval of PCCQ Protocols, we also conduct a cross-cultural communications survey, in collaboration with U. of Colorado Institute for Bioethics (formerly AMA’s survey tool) to benchmark how well leaders vs staff vs patient perceive the hospital is doing with its diverse patient needs. Results always have a major surprises – positive and negative! (Some of these elements shed important light on underlying reasons for HCAHPS scores, but the surveys are not duplicative.)
Most importantly, we work with the CEO and other leaders of the hospital, to appoint the PCCQ Council. This council should be made up of future leaders across all areas of the hospital, who are responsible for proposing, developing, implementing and monitoring PCCQ Initiatives. Using principles of Lean Six Sigma, each initiative has a PCCQ Project Charter that limits the project to 6 months at a time, and progress is reviewed at each bimonthly or monthly PCCQ meeting. Others may be invited to join the Council Meetings from time to time, including physicians in the network, and patients and community leaders.
What have we learned?
The Office of Minority Health has issued 15 standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS), but there are no “teeth” to them, nor any requirement to report on or measure compliance (and thus no penalties for non-compliance). They and the Joint Commission claim that these Standards have been cross-walked with the JC inspection. However they may say this, they are not sufficient, nor obvious to anyone, and basically any JC-approved hospital is considered compliant. What is needed is a carve out of inspection elements to form basis for a PCCQ Center of Excellence that becomes a specific subset of the Joint Commission inspection that CAN impact a hospital’s certification. Then, we need to do the same at the primary care and clinic level, as well as hold insurers accountable to ensuring their diverse patients meet these standards.
Until and unless America values the health of its diverse population, “value based care” will only serve a future minority of Americans. With PCCQ, it may serve all.
NB: We’d like to acknowledge and thank Holy Name Medical Center (Teaneck, NJ), CEO Mike Maron, its PCCQ Council and all the staff and patients, and especially Ms. Kyung Hee Choi, VP, Asian Patient Services, for taking the PCCQ journey. This large, independent community hospital in a lower socioeconomic suburb of New York City with an ethnically highly diverse patient and community population (approx. 40% of whom are immigrants), aims to become the nation’s best practice community hospital leader in PCCQ in 2017.