Perception’s everything

The past couple of days I’ve been attending the Missouri Hospital Association Annual Conference.  There’s a lot of talk in the hospital world about quality and patient outcomes – as there should be, we’re in the business of saving lives.  What people don’t talk about as much is perception. 

This past summer I spent some time in Colorado studying Poudre Valley Health Care.  The Poudre Valley System is one of the quality leaders in the country and one of the most respected health care systems in the world. 

Let me share HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers & Systems) results from two organizations and then we’ll do a little quiz.  HCAHPS for those of you who don’t know are  publicly reported patient satisfaction data collected by CMS.  You can go to and get outcome data for any hospital in the country.

Here’s a look at two different hospitals on a few of the HCAHPS questions.

                                   Hospital                           A                       B

                                               Percentage of patients who say “Always”

Nurses Communicate well                                76                      76

Doctors Communicate well                              83                     74

Patients receive help as soon as wanted        68                     65

Room and bathroom clean                               80                     77

Would give hospital 9 or 10 rating                  64                     77

Patient would definitely recommend             62                     84





Hospital A: Golden Valley Memorial Health Care

Hospital B: Poudre Valley Health Care

Here’s the point.  In health care, like most things in life, perception trumps reality!  GVMH’s outcomes and patient experience are just as good or better than Poudre Valley’s but the “perception” questions like “would definitely recommend” are higher at Poudre Valley.  If you had spent the night in one of the premier health care organizations in the world wouldn’t you recommend it?  The answer is yes, yes, yes…but the question is, is the organization great because of great outcomes or is it great because you think it is.  Poudre Valley does a great job helping people understand how great they are as an organization – and my experience at Poudre Valley convinced me they are great, and a model organization.

So to get further into the discussion of perception, let’s do a poll.  Next week I’ll do a blog on branding and why branding is important in all businesses but especially health care. 

Please take a minute to complete the following poll.

About Craig Thompson

I am a young professional with two great sons, and I work in the healthcare setting. I am employed in hospital administration and serve as Chief Executive Officer at Golden Valley Memorial Healthcare in Clinton, Missouri. At GVMH we care for our families, friends and neighbors. We're committed to providing the safest, friendliest and most compassionate care to all we serve.
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