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PHYSICIAN VISITS: Same day appointments with specialists

It is more common for health care providers to offer same-day visits to primary care physicians, but at least one health system is also offering same-day visits to specialists on a large-scale basis.  Allegheny Health Network (Pittsburgh, PA), an 8-hospital system with 250 outpatient clinics, started to offer this option in January 2017.  In the first few months, there have been 36,000 patients who scheduled a same-day appointment, with about one-third seeing specialists.  Patient satisfaction with this option is reported as being very high.


Castellucci, M. (2017, April 3). Offering same-day doc visits. Modern Healthcare, 47(14), 32.  Click here for link to publisher: http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20170401/MAGAZINE/304019981

The Advisory Board. (2017, February 28). The 5 lessons Allegheny Health Network learned from offering same-day specialist appointments. The Daily Briefing. Click here: https://www.advisory.com/daily-briefing/2017/02/28/allegheny-specialist-same-day

Venteicher, W. (2017, January 19). Allegheny Health Network to schedule same-day doctors’ appointments. Trib Live.  Click here: http://triblive.com/news/healthnow/11804612-74/appointments-health-patients

Allegheny Health Network website has some FAQs about this service here: https://www.ahn.org/same-day

Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

TRANSPARENCY: Posting patient reviews of physicians

Some health systems have begun to post online patient satisfaction scores and patient comments about physicians on the medical staff.  Here are some systems that do this (there are said to be an additional 20 which are not identified by name):

  • University of Utah Health Care
  • Piedmont Healthcare
  • Wake Forest Baptist Health
  • Northwell Health
  • Stanford
  • Cleveland Clinic
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • Duke

The advantages of this approach are discussed in this brief Perspective article in the New England Journal.  There is also an audio interview in which the author discusses some of the logistics of doing this at University of Utah Health Care.

Source: Lee, V. (2017, January 19). Transparency and trust: Online patient reviews of physicians. The New England Journal of Medicine, 376, 197-199. Click here: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1610136  Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

Improving the Patient Experience Through the Health Care Physical Environment

A new report in the Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence series looks at how the physical environment within a hospital can impact the patient experience. People, process, and place all affect the patient experience and should be part of a holistic approach for improvement.

The report identifies eight patient experience domains that HCAHPS measures and relates them to elements of the physical environment, such as noise, cleanliness, pain management, and staff responsiveness. Hospital leaders are encouraged to take a team approach to involve staff in improving patient satisfaction.

Brief case studies and resources for further reading are shared.

Source: Improving the patient experience through the health care physical environment. Health Research and Educational Trust/American Hospital Association, March 2016. http://www.hpoe.org/Reports-HPOE/gate/2016/2016-ASHE-guide-03-31-16.pdf

Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

Patient and Family Engagement Resource Compendium

A new resource compendium links users to key resources on patient and family engagement. The resources, each briefly described, are grouped into these categories:

  • Leadership
  • Organizational assessments
  • Patient and family advisory council/committee: resources for hospitals
  • Partnering to improve the quality of care
  • Engaging patients and families during the hospital stay
  • Health literacy: resources for providers
  • Health literacy: resources to help patients communicate with providers and manage medications
  • Health literacy: resources to help patients prevent adverse events in the hospital
  • Shared decision making
  • Engaging to reduce disparities

The compendium also explains how the resources can help in getting started with a new program or initiative, and it ends with a general bibliography of additional article references.

Patient and family engagement resource compendium. Health Research & Education Trust, Dec. 2015. http://www.hret-hen.org/topics/pfe/20160104-PFEcompendium.pdf

Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

CXO: What is a chief experience officer in health care? Who was the first CXO?

The first chief experience officer (CXO) in health care is said to have been M. Bridget Duffy, MD, an internist at the Cleveland Clinic, who was appointed to this position reporting directly to the CEO in 2007.  Other health care organizations with CXOs include:

  • Johns Hopkins (Baltimore)
  • North Shore-LIJ Health System (Great Neck, N.Y.)
  • Thomas Jefferson University Hospital (Philadelphia)
  • UCLA Health (Los Angeles)

The objective of this position is to improve the patient experience.  At the Cleveland Clinic, a strategic “patients first” initiative focuses on safety – quality – satisfaction – value (in that order).


Carlson, B. (2015, Sept./Oct.). The rise of the chief experience officer. Physician Leadership Journal, 2(5), 16-21.  http://www.physicianleaders.org/news/journals/plj  This is a link to the publisher’s website; the article is not free on the web.  Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

Free resources on the web:

Nursing leadership: The rise of the chief experience officer. (2013, Sept. 17). The Sentinel Watch: Nursing. Retrieved from http://www.americansentinel.edu/blog/2013/09/17/nursing-leadership-the-rise-of-the-chief-experience-officer/

Punke, H. (2013, Sept. 6). New seat in the hospital C-suite: The rise of the chief experience officer. Becker’s Hospital Review. Retrieved from http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-management-administration/new-seat-in-the-hospital-c-suite-the-rise-of-the-chief-experience-officer.html

Maziarz, J. (2013, April 4). The rise of the chief experience officer. The CMO Site. Retrieved from http://www.thecmosite.com/author.asp?section_id=2865&doc_id=261577



Debunking Common Myths About Healthcare Consumerism

Consumers are taking a more active role in health care decision making, and healthcare consumerism will soon become a much more significant force according to a new report from McKinsey & Company. McKinsey identifies and debunks these key myths based on its survey and analysis of consumer behavior and attitudes:

  • Myth: Healthcare is different from other industries when it comes to expectations about the consumer experience.
  • Myth: Consumers know what they want and what drives their decisions.
  • Myth: Most consumers research their healthcare choices before making fact-based decisions based on their research.
  • Myth: Premium price is the only really important factor in purchase decisions.
  • Myth: Almost all consumers have a primary care physician and are highly reluctant to change doctors.
  • Myth: Retail clinics will remain a niche health solution.
  • Myth: Only young people are using technology to manage their health and healthcare needs.
  • Myth: Most people are willing to trust insurers to store their health records.

Both provides and payors should be ready to respond to and help shape healthcare consumerism as it evolves.

Source: Cordina J and others. Debunking common myths about healthcare consumerism. McKinsey & Company, Dec. 2015. http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/health_systems_and_services/debunking_common_myths_about_healthcare_consumerism

Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050 rc@aha.org

How Much Will It Cost? How Americans Use Prices in Health Care

How many Americans are trying to find how much their health care will cost them? How are they using the information they find? Public Agenda wanted to know and conducted a representative survey of Americans to find the answers.

Here are key results from their survey:

  • Over half of Americans [56%] say they’ve tried to determine their out-of-pocket costs before getting care.
  • Most Americans are open to looking for better-value care, with 71% indicating higher prices are not typically a sign of better quality care.
  • Looking for price information does not necessarily mean comparing prices.
  • For those who have compared prices, most believe it has saved them money.
  • Obstacles to increasing more cost comparisons exist. Half of Americans are unsure how to find price information. Over half [57%] don’t think doctors in their network charge differently for the same service.
  • Insurers and providers could do more to help Americans manage their health care costs. Most [69%] thought a website showing different charges would be helpful.

Further details are available in the report.

Source: How much will it cost? How Americans use prices in health care. Public Agenda, March 2015. http://www.publicagenda.org/files/HowMuchWillItCost_PublicAgenda_2015.pdf

Related resource: Transparency for consumers: a hospital toolkit. American Hospital Association, July 2014. http://www.ahacommunityconnections.org/content/14transparencytoolkit.pdf

Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

Finding Quality Doctors: What the Public Thinks

What do Americans think about the available information to assist them in finding quality doctors? Here are key finding from a recent survey by the Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research:

  • When it comes to what makes a high or low quality provider,  most consumers focus on doctor-patient interactions or physician personality traits rather than effectiveness of care or their personal health outcomes.
  • Friends and family remain the most trusted source for providing quality information about doctors or other providers
  • About half of the public links higher quality to higher cost.
  • While many Americans are not confident they could locate quality information about doctors, even more have trouble finding health care costs for decision-making.

Source: Finding quality doctors: how Americans evaluate provider quality in the United States. Associated Press; NORC, July 2014. http://www.apnorc.org/PDFs/Finding%20Quality%20Doctors/Finding%20Quality%20Doctors%20Research%20Highlights.pdf

Related Sources:

Lynch W and others. Altarum Institute survey of consumer health care opinions. Altarum Institute, Fall 2013, revised Jan. 8, 2014 [includes information sources used to find a doctor and seeking cost and quality information]. http://altarum.org/sites/default/files/uploaded-related-files/Altarum%20Fall%202013%20Survey%20of%20Consumer%20Opinions.pdf Other Altarum Institute consumer surveys: http://altarum.org/research-centers/center-for-consumer-choice-in-health-care/semi-annual-consumer-survey-results

Fox S and Duggan M. Health online 2013. Pew Research Internet Project, Jan. 13, 2013. http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/01/15/health-online-2013/

Sarasohn-Kahn J. Consumer trust in health care: online information trumps health plans. HealthPopuli.com, May 21, 2012. http://healthpopuli.com/2012/05/21/consumer-trust-in-health-care-online-information-trumps-health-plans/

Deloitte 2012 Survey of U.S. health care consumers. INFOBrief: Information technology, social media and online resources for health care – a slow climb. Deloitte, 2012. http://www.deloitte.com/view/en_US/us/Industries/US-federal-government/center-for-health-solutions/acd4509

Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org





Achieving Price Transparency for Consumers: a Hospital Toolkit

The American Hospital Association has released a new toolkit to help hospitals address price transparency. After discussing the what and why of price transparency, the toolkit recommends these action steps:

  1. Put yourself in the shoes of the consumer
  2. Train your staff
  3. Make information meaningful
  4. Know how your information compares to others — not just hospitals but other providers — in its accessibility and usefulness
  5. Tap your community for help

A self-assessment checklist is included for further help, followed by case examples from nine providers, sample web-based tools, and additional resources.

Source: Transparency for consumers: a hospital toolkit. American Hospital Association, July 2014. http://www.ahacommunityconnections.org/content/14transparencytoolkit.pdf

Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

Price Transparency in Health Care

The push for hospital price transparency has gained more momentum with last week’s announcement from the Health Care Cost Institute that major health plans have agreed to provide consumers with free access to health care prices. That follows the proposed rule from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that would require hospitals to release a standard list of prices. Growing enrollment in health plans with higher levels of consumer cost-sharing have further fueled the issue.

However, providing meaningful price information tailored to a specific patient is challenging. It can be difficult to predict in advance, for example, if a particular surgery may be straight-forward for one patient while full of unanticipated complications for another. On top of that, hospital prices do not include physician or other professional costs or how much of the cost the patient’s health plan may cover.

A task force convened by the Healthcare Financial Management Association [HFMA]  has developed guiding principles, policy considerations, and recommendations for price transparency frameworks in a new report. Its five guiding principles:

  1. Price transparency should empower patients to make meaningful price comparisons prior to care; it would also allow other care purchasers and clinicians to identify providers that offer the level of value sought for their patients.
  2. Price transparency should be easy to use and easy to communicate to stakeholders.
  3. Price transparency information should be paired with other information that defines the value of services.
  4. Price transparency should ultimately provide patients with the information they need to understand the total price of their care and what is included in that price.
  5. Price transparency will require the commitment and active participation of all stakeholders.

HFMA has also published a consumer guide to understanding healthcare prices and has compiled some examples of price transparency tools.

Sources and other recent background information:

2014 Advocacy agenda policy papers: hospital price transparency. American Hospital Association, 2014. http://www.aha.org/content/14/ip-pricetransparency.pdf

Major US health plans agree to give consumers free access to timely information about health care prices to foster greater transparency. Press release, Health Care Cost Institute, May 14, 2014. http://www.healthcostinstitute.org/news-and-events/major-us-health-plans-agree-give-consumers-free-access-timely-information-about-heal

Viebeck E. New price transparency rules for hospitals. The Hill, Apr. 30, 2014. http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/204868-new-price-transparency-rules-for-hospitals-under-o-care

Price transparency in health care; report from the HFMA Price Transparency Task Force. Healthcare Financial Management Associaton, 2014. http://www.hfma.org/Content.aspx?id=22305

Understanding healthcare prices: a consumer guide. Healthcare Financial Management Association, 2014. http://www.hfma.org/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=22288 

Examples of price transparency tools. Healthcare Financial Management Association, accessed May 20, 2014 at http://www.hfma.org/Content.aspx?id=22295

Patient financial communications best practices. Healthcare Financial Management Association, accessed May 20, 2014 at http://www.hfma.org/Content.aspx?id=20098

White C ; Ginsberg PB; Tu HT; and others. Healthcare price transparency: policy approaches and estimated impacts on spending. Policy analysis, WestHealth Policy Center, May 2014.  http://www.westhealth.org/sites/default/files/Price%20Transparency%20Policy%20Analysis%20FINAL%205-2-14.pdf

Shinkman R. Hospital leaders must acknowledge they’re losing the war over price transparency. FierceHealthFinance, May 19, 2014. http://www.fiercehealthfinance.com/story/hospital-leaders-must-acknowledge-theyre-losing-war-over-price-transparency/2014-05-19

Transparency and disclosure of health costs and provider payments: state actions. National Conference of State Legislatures, Apr. 2014. http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/transparency-and-disclosure-health-costs.aspx

Report card on state transparency laws. Catalyst for Payment Reform, Mar. 25, 2014. http://www.catalyzepaymentreform.org/images/documents/2014Report.pdf

2014 comprehensive specifications for the evaluation of price transparency tools. Catalyst for Payment Reform, Jan. 2014. http://www.catalyzepaymentreform.org/images/documents/2014CPRSpecifications.pdf

Administration offers consumers an unprecedented look at hospital charges. Press release, U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, May 8, 2013. http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2013pres/05/20130508a.html

NEW as of June 2, 2014:

Millman J. Further evidence of how weird hospital pricing is. Washington Post Wonk Blog, June 2, 2014. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/06/02/further-evidence-of-how-weird-hospital-pricing-is/

Keating D. Why ‘transparency’ isn’t enough for healthcare prices. Washington Post Wong Blog, June 2, 2014. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/06/02/why-transparency-isnt-enough-for-health-care-prices/

Creswell J and others.Hospital charges surge for common ailments, data shows. New York Times, June 2, 2014. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/03/business/Medicare-Hospital-Billing-Data-Is-Released.html

Medicare provider utilization and payment data: outpatient. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, accessed June 2, 2014 at http://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/Medicare-Provider-Charge-Data/Outpatient.html

Medicare provider utilization and payment data: inpatient. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, accessed June 2, 2014 at https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/Medicare-Provider-Charge-Data/Inpatient.html

Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org