Hospital Mystery Shopping
Do You See What They See?
Devon Hill Associates’ Hospital Mystery Shopping Services engage Secret Patients to call hospitals — and become ED patients, outpatients and inpatients — in order to provide in-depth, unbiased feedback about how they perceive access, prices, quality, communication, service and safety.
Why Use Hospital Mystery Shopping?
There are at least three good reasons to use hospital mystery shopping.
- Exceptionally insightful feedback. Documenting and analyzing individual patient-staff interactions helps providers and staff fully understand and improve the perceptions that patients have of them. Hospital mystery shopping offers an unmatched view of what patients liked and disliked during calls and visits to your hospital. You see what they see — facts, opinions and feelings that help you pinpoint the areas in most need of improvement.
- HCAHPS scores. Two-thirds of the core questions in the HCAHPS survey (and the upcoming ED-CAHPS survey) are rated on a scale of “Always” to “Never” — but “Always” is the only response that counts! Devon Hill Associates’ Mystery Shopping Services help you more clearly see the areas where communication, systems and/or staff behavior create — or impede — an “Always” positive response.
- Price transparency. Cost-conscious employers are making price transparency a factor in negotiations, and patients are demanding more information about healthcare prices. Do you know how your staff respond to price questions? Do patients encounter helpful, informative staff and user-friendly resources or tools? In 2005, Devon Hill Associates conducted a study — sponsored by the California HealthCare Foundation — of price transparency at 64 hospitals: Price Check: The Mystery of Hospital Pricing. After completing 622 calls and visits, our mystery shoppers demonstrated that there was a serious communications gap between hospitals and patients — a gap frequently undetected by management.
Several years later, we conducted a similar mystery shopping study about price and financial assistance for 11 Virginia hospitals — sponsored by the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association — and found similar results.
Most importantly, the information contained in a mystery shopping report acts as a catalyst for making changes to systems, processes, policies and procedures — or retraining staff in ways that lead to more positive and more consistently satisfying patient experiences.
“I wanted to let you know how much I appreciated the work you did for the California HealthCare Foundation … The thoroughness of the process and the professionalism of the “shoppers” allowed us to have insight into a growing problem. ”
– California HealthCare Foundation • Oakland, CA