AHRA: How HCAHPS aligns with digital radiography

MINNEAPOLIS—While it may seem that many of the categories in the HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) survey don’t apply to radiology, digital radiography (DR) actually lends itself quite well to the HCAHPS measures, according to a presentation at the annual meeting of AHRA.

Gregg Cretella, manager of clinical science for Fujifilm Medical Systems, in Seymour, Conn., took many of the categories on the HCAHPS survey of patient experiences and showed how those scores could be bolstered in the DR setting. The categories discussed were:

Communication with nurses & communication with doctors: Cretella applied these two categories to the patient experience with technologists and radiologists, respectively. For interaction with the technologist, he said features such as DR flat panel detectors with fast acquisition time allow more interaction between technologist and patient. Simplified and intuitive controls also help the technologist to provide a better experience because that “ultimately allows the technologist to keep his or her focus on the patient and not the equipment,” said Cretella.

Responsiveness of hospital staff: This category correlates with patient acuity recognition, said Cretella. Since exam workflow is determined more by the level of patient participation and cooperation than almost any technological feature, understanding and responding to patients’ ability is key.

Cleanliness/quietness of hospital environment: The overall appearance of the DR room factors in here, with unobtrusive designs, room decorations and ambiance all playing a role to calm the patient and foster participation.

Pain management: In the DR setting, this category correlates with patient positioning and comfort, according to Cretella. Assistance for disabled patients and acquisition workstation features that expedite exams all minimize patient discomfort.

Communication about medicines: Cretella connected this category with dose management, noting that with the shift to an outcome-based model of healthcare, it would bode well for hospitals to market dose reduction to patients. “Digital radiography technology, specifically the detectors, over the last couple years have really lent themselves to an incredible reduction in patient dose,” he said.