Increasing medication HCAHPS scores using a standardized, simplified process to educate patients on commonly prescribed new medications

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Nursing


Background: An estimated 40% to 50% of patients do not understand their medications leading to 125,000 preventable deaths annually and $100 billion in preventable healthcare costs. The Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey is used to measure patients' perspectives of their care with two of the questions explicitly related to new medication and side effects education. HCAHPS scores drive reimbursement to hospitals. Care that the patient perceives as positive improves outcomes and increases healthcare value. Aim: The aim of this project was to increase patient knowledge of new medications, develop a tool to guide nurse medication education, and improve medication HCAHPS scores. Methods: This project implemented a simple medication education tool which listed 8 common classes of medications, their uses, and most common side effects. This was done to increase patient understanding of prescribed medications on a telemetry floor at a large central Montana hospital. The tool was developed using evidence-based research, RN's were educated on its use, and it was placed at the patient bedside as a resource for patient medication education. Results: A total of 87% of unit RN's were educated on the tool and its expected use. To check for tool at the patient bedside, 6 rooms out of a total of 33 were audited twice weekly for four weeks. Two PDSA Cycles were completed after low rates of tool at the bedside were discovered. Scores improved after each PDSA Cycle with a score of 100% obtained at the beginning of Week 4 of implementation. HCAHPS data was not available at the time of writing. Conclusions: The development of a new medication and side effects education tool was placed at the bedside and used as a guide to educate patients on their prescribed medications. This was done to increase patient comprehension and thereby satisfaction of medication understanding as an attempt to increase HCAHPS scores in the medication education category.




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