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Employee Engagement: 70% of workers in the U.S. are unengaged

AutoData tries to write posts on many different worthwhile topics that our users and potential users find valuable. One topic we haven’t written about is the importance of employee engagement.

An “engaged employee” is one who is fully involved in and enthusiastic about their work. This allows them to act in a way that furthers their organization’s interests. In other words, an organization with high employee engagement will be a successful organization. Achieving high employee engagement is no easy task, however.

In fact, according to a State of the American Workplace report, 70% of American workers don’t like their job. A whopping 70%!

A recent article in Forbes wrote about the importance of engaged employees:

“Employees engaged in their work are likely to be motivated, to remain committed to their employer and to stay focused on achieving business goals and driving the organizations future. Disengaged employees can drag down others and impact everything from customer service to sales, quality, productivity, retention and other critical areas.”

It’s clear that employee engagement is an integral part of maximizing the value an organization provides. Thus, organizations should ask themselves two questions about employee engagement: what engages employees? How do I know they’re engaged?

The Forbes article discusses a number of great ways to answer the first question (full article found here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/sylviavorhausersmith/2013/08/14/how-the-best-places-to-work-are-nailing-employee-engagement/) I’ll simply outline them in our post:

–        Understand what employees are thinking

–        Create an intentional culture

–        Demonstrate appreciation for contributions, big and small

–        Commit to open, honest communication

–        Support career path development

–        Engage in social interaction outside work

–        Know how to communicate the organizations stories

The second question is equally as important – how do I know if my employees are engaged? The most obvious way is through surveys. Many organizations use online surveys to measure their employee’s engagement. However, more and more organizations are finding out that online surveys don’t yield great participation results. In fact, studies have shown that paper surveys yield higher participation rates than online surveys. Because our software allows users to create, distribute, and report on thousands of paper surveys, many organizations have had success using our software to measure employee engagement.

Knowing whether or not your employees are engaged is a top priority in organizations across all types of industry. How do you measure employee engagement?

Normandale Community College has success with ExpertScan

Customer Profile – Normandale Community College

“We use AutoData’s products every single day now,” says Anne Janzen, a performance improvement specialist at Normandale Community College (NCC) in Bloomington, MN. NCC is consistently ranked as one of the top 50 community colleges in the country and enrolls over 10,000 students.

“In the past, many of our departments were using comment cards and other experience surveys that they were entering in by hand or worse – filing them away and never doing anything with the information collected.” With ExpertScan’s form scanning technology, NCC can take full advantage of the valuable information and insight they collect from their students.

Not only does ExpertScan make it easier for NCC to collect and report important data, but Anne says “ExpertScan allows us to print the surveys through any printer on regular office paper which saves us a lot of money, as opposed to using scantron-type surveys. This also makes the survey creation process more user-friendly.”

Anne further discussed the importance of their process of using paper surveys, “[our] online response rates were horrible and resulted in invalid data. To be able to administer end-of-course surveys and satisfaction surveys in the classroom to get representative rates was wonderful. We really rely on these results to inform decision-making.”

ExpertScan’s automatic reporting features help NCC to communicate those results, “we create lots of standard reports – each faculty member gets reports on each class with their course evaluation results compared with everyone else for that semester.”

“For the price, AutoData’s products are superior to any other I’ve encountered. Without AutoData’s software, our ability to evaluate the effectiveness of our services and programs would be limited.”

Thank you to Anne Janzen and NCC for being this month’s customer profile!

Ten No-cost Ways to Improve Patient Satisfaction

Our goal in writing this blog is to provide you, the reader, with valuable insight (at least we hope its valuable). Most of the time, we offer our own perspectives on relevant issues. But sometimes, others offer great advice that we would be remiss not to share with you. This is one of those times.

The blog over at www.physicianspracitce.com has an insightful recent post outlining “Ten no-cost ways to improve patient satisfaction.” The post reiterates the importance of measuring patient satisfaction, but goes on to give 10 simple –yet effective – tips on how physicians can improve patient satisfaction. Check out the full post at the below link!

 

http://www.physicianspractice.com/blog/ten-no-cost-ways-to-improve-patient-satisfaction

Using surveys at assisted living facilities to increase quality of care

There are currently 735,000 men and women residing in assisted living housing in America.[1] Over the next 20 years, as baby boomers continue to age and leave the workforce in droves, the number of assisted living residents will spike. Recent questions surrounding patient safety and the quality of care administered at these facilities have been raised in the media, most recently highlighted by an investigative series done by PBS’s Frontline.

A large concern surrounding the problem of patient safety at these facilities is “[t]oo often, families don’t have the information they need to protect their loved ones residing in assisted living facilities,”[2] says National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers’ President, Julie Gray.  One of the best ways for facilities to get that information into the hands of those families is through measuring their own quality of care and resident satisfaction. The best way to measure care and patient satisfaction is by surveying residents, employees, and families.

Pioneer Network – a non-profit organization which advocates for positive change in eldercare – released a helpful guide outlining what families should look for when searching for the right assisted living facility.[3] The guide is not only extremely helpful to families looking for the right facility, but it is also helpful for the facilities themselves. It serves as a reminder of the importance of constantly evaluating the care an assisted living facility provides. The guide suggests families ask specific questions about “person-directed care and what the assisted living community is doing, if anything, with person-directed care.” The guide lists specific questions to ask: how do you welcome a new resident?; do you measure resident satisfaction each year?; do you provide training for your staff on how to provide person-directed care?; etc. As obvious as it may seem, care facilities should be asking themselves the same questions about the care they provide. Further, the guide suggests that facilities survey family members of the individual residing at the facility.

Assisted living facilities will increase their quality of care and patient satisfaction by asking their residents, employees, families, and themselves, the right questions. The best way to ask and answer the important and specific questions put forth above is through custom tailored surveys. Facilities are in the best position to know which questions to ask. When facilities have the ability to custom tailor their own surveys to ask those specific questions and to freely edit those surveys, they put themselves in a position to gather more accurate and valuable data.

Feel free to contact AutoData to find out how we can help assisted living facilities create custom tailored paper and web surveys to  improve your care, and most importantly, improve the overall quality of life for your residents.



[1] “New Survey from National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers Offers a Roadmap to Protect Growing Number of Seniors http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/9/prweb11083496.htm

[2] See id.

Businesses are using employee wellness to address rising healthcare costs

The unsustainable costs associated with healthcare have been part of an ongoing conversation in our country for the past decade or so. Although the discussion about our country’s healthcare has been well documented and debated it feels that little progress has been made. The U.S. spends $2.8 trillion on healthcare annually – more than any other country – yet rank 37th in world health systems, according to the World Health Organization. Further, as Dr. Nick Baird of U.S. Healthiest states, “unhealthy behaviors drive 70% of preventable healthcare spending.” As healthcare costs rise at alarming rates, individuals and the businesses that provide their health insurance are feeling the pain, for lack of a better term.  How do we as a nation address the unhealthy behaviors and the decisions behind those behaviors contributing to unsustainable costs?

This is where organizations such as U.S. Healthiest come into play. U.S. healthiest is a non-profit, public-private partnership formed to address these market pressures by recognizing the value of healthy employees through workplace engagement and well-being. U.S. Healthiest has created an accreditation system –comparable to LEED accreditation for green buildings – to address worksite health and wellness. The accreditation system uses standardized scores and benchmarking to encourage businesses to embrace continuous workplace health improvement. When businesses commit to their employees’ health through wellness programs, they begin to see an increase in productivity and work ethic, ultimately translating into increased revenue. A focus on employee wellness also leads to lower healthcare costs for the company. The incentives for businesses to encourage their employees’ health are clear. So far, companies such as Target, Intel, and ING have all signed up for the accreditation process.

U.S. Healthiest and organizations like U.S. Healthiest are hoping to change individual employee’s behaviors by leveraging business incentives and in turn, taking our nation’s healthcare problem head-on. So far, the numbers don’t lie:

“A 2010 analysis of 36 studies that looked at corporate wellness programs suggested they can be effective. Researchers calculated that employers saved $6 for every $1 spent: $3.27 saved in medical costs and an additional $2.73 gained due to reduced absenteeism. An earlier analysis had found that such programs reduced sick leave, health plan costs, worker compensation and disability costs by about 25%.” (see link below)

Whether it’s a massive corporation such as Target or a local small business, companies benefit from investing in employee wellness, and in turn, hopefully our country will benefit as well.

An important element of adhering to workplace health improvement and U.S. Healthiest’s accreditation process is measuring employee’s health, most commonly through an HA (health assessment). AutoData’s software simplifies the process of measuring employee wellness with its survey creation software. By offering a combination of paper and web surveys, using our software will increase a company’s response rates and employee engagement. AutoData embraces the opportunity to assist companies in improving their top and bottom lines, but most importantly, the opportunity to help businesses improve our nation’s healthcare.

http://articles.latimes.com/2013/sep/15/opinion/la-oe-parikh-employee-wellness-programs-20130912

Scannable Office cited by study as being “significantly” quicker than manually entering patient data

Public Health Ontario (PHO) recently released a study in which they used Scannable Office® for incorporating scannable forms into their immunization data collection processes. Like many healthcare organizations, PHO realized that “[p]opulating individual-level records through manual data entry is time-consuming. An alternative is to use scannable forms, completed at the point of vaccination and subsequently scanned and exported to a database or registry.”

PHO selected AutoData® Scannable Office as “the most appropriate software for this feasibility study.”

PHO’s study noted how the majority of clients commented on the ease of the entire process, “[q]uestionnaires were completed by 198 clients at HRHD clinics . . . [m]ost clients reported that instructions were clear (81%), the experience of writing letters/numbers in individual boxes was the same or easier than other forms (88%), completing this type of form took the same amount of time or less than other types of forms (87%), and there were no parts of the form that they found confusing (84%).” Further, “[s]ome clients noted that these forms contained more space than others, and that the allocation of one box per character made the form easier to complete.”

PHO found that “[p]ersonnel in both organizations used the scanning application successfully to capture high quality immunization data,” and that the “time required to scan and verify forms at (HRHD) was significantly shorter than manual data entry.”

Finally, PHO observed that “scanning is associated with shorter data processing times, which, when considered in the context of hundreds or thousands of vaccinees, means that fewer resources are required to compile these high quality datasets.”

Find the Full report here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3525595/

The New Importance of Measuring Patient Care

Another day, another article on the importance of measuring patient care in a post-Affordable Care Act world (It pays for hospitals to keep patients happy, Seattle Times, see link below).

As discussed in our last post, federal reimbursements are being tied not only to surveys that measure a patient’s care, but also their experience. In an attempt to improve the patient’s experience, everything from a patient’s overall care to hospital noise and cleanliness are measured. The better the patient’s experience, the more money is received in reimbursements, or so the logic goes.

But measuring specific aspects of patient care is easier said than done. For example, perhaps your hospital implements – or contracts someone to implement – your HCAHPS surveys. Or perhaps the same goes for your AHRQ Medical Office Survey. Or perhaps the same goes for any other myriad of standardized surveys your hospital might use. While administering all of those different surveys is important, there are two inherent problems: 1) too many moving parts when trying to implement multiple different surveys all collecting different kinds of data 2) the standardized surveys don’t necessarily cover all of the topics you wish to measure (i.e. hospital noise and cleanliness).

The severity of the first problem depends on the hospital’s processes. If you’re reading this, you’re likely well aware of the issues that arise in administering multiple standardized surveys. For example, dealing with third party contractors who write, administer, and report on different surveys creates red tape and removes the care provider further away from the process of measuring care. Also, the data collected from all these different surveys is unorganized, hard to manage, and doesn’t flow.

Second, the standardized surveys don’t allow you the flexibility to ask the questions you want to ask. As the Seattle Times article suggests, hospitals need the ability to measure all sorts of different patient attitudes and experiences; how the hospital communicates to the patient, how the hospital serves the patient, how they address the patient’s pain, and so on.

Because of these two problems, standardized surveys and the third party vendors who administer them can’t touch on the important level of detail needed to ask the right questions. The measurement of care should be administered by those closest to the patients, the ones providing the care.

So what am I getting at?

The ability to custom tailor surveys so that every detail about a patient’s experience is measured. The flexibility and autonomy necessary to create surveys that ask the questions your organization wants to ask. The ability to have all of your data in one spot. This is what AutoData does for its customers. AutoData’s software gives you the in-house tools to be in full control of your surveys and your data, giving you the ability to better measure your care and improve your care.

Please contact us for more information on how we can help.

 

(Seattle Times article below)

http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2021593747_healthpatientsxml.html

Federal Payments For Hospitals Tied To Surveys

“Under the national healthcare overhaul, patient experiences matter. Federal payments are being tied to surveys that gauge patient attitudes about such things as a hospital’s noise and cleanliness, communication and pain management.” – LA Times, “Healthcare overhaul leads hospitals to focus on patient satisfaction” (see link below for full article)

The importance of providing patients with quality care is not a new idea in the healthcare world. However, the importance of measuring a patient’s quality of care is becoming more and more apparent under the Affordable Care Act – as the quote above suggests.

It’s pretty simple, really: “If patients are happy, hospitals get more money. If they aren’t, hospitals get less.” Ultimately, positive patient experiences effect a hospital’s bottom line. Which begs the question, how are you measuring patient care? And perhaps more importantly, what are you doing with the data you collect?

Not only are we seeing an increase in attention paid to measuring care due to the Affordable Care Act, but we’re also seeing an increase in competition for new patients between hospitals.

“Competition is partly responsible for the transformation. People have access to hospital patient satisfaction and quality scores, empowering them to make informed choices about where to seek care. Public hospitals, particularly, risk losing large numbers of newly insured patients.”

Due in part to websites such as Google, Yelp, Angie’s List, etc., consumers now rely on customer experience reviews more than ever. But using the internet for reviews doesn’t just apply to restaurants and hotels anymore. Patients are becoming informed consumers when deciding which hospital to choose. Collecting your patient’s satisfaction is one important step, but getting that information in the hands of future patients is another.

AutoData has helped thousands of hospitals collect and analyze patient data for 20 years. We are committed to understanding the best practices of measuring patient care in a constantly changing industry. Our software gives your organization the in-house tools to capture patient satisfaction and report on the data collected.

Measuring and collecting patients satisfaction has never been more important. Is your current process adequate?

 

(LA Times story quoted in the post: http://touch.latimes.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-76738509/)

 

ExpertScan vs. Scannable Office: Part 2 – Reporting the data

 

In a prior post, we briefly explained the differences in creating forms with our two main survey scanning solutions – Scannable Office and ExpertScan. In this post, we will explain the other main difference between the two products: reporting the data.

An important reason customers choose to use our software is to clearly understand the data they collect. Whether it’s measuring patient care or customer experience, the data doesn’t mean much if you don’t understand it or if you can’t convey it clearly to others. In general, it’s much easier to convey raw data through visuals (bar graphs, pie charts, line graphs, etc.). This is where ExpertScan comes in handy.

ExpertScan has automatic reporting built into the software. When you scan in your form or survey, the software creates a handful of different reports on the data automatically. With the click of a mouse, a window pops up with a question-by-question breakdown and option to view the data in bar graphs, pie charts, trend analysis, etc.. ExpertScan also has tabulation rules that allow you to parse out certain types of data. For example, if you have a patient satisfaction survey which is used in multiple hospitals, ExpertScan’s reporting allows you to see the differences, question-by-question, between those different hospitals or even the different doctors. These reports can be easily converted to PDF files and disseminated to appropriate personnel. Further, all of the raw data scanned into your computer also gets saved in a separate Microsoft Access database.

While Scannable Office offers more options in form creation, it does not offer the automatic reporting features that ExpertScan has. With Scannable Office, the data can be uploaded directly to any ODBC compliant database – Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access, MySQL, Oracle, Filemaker Pro, etc. Once in the database, one’s options to manipulate and report on the data are endless. However, the options are limited to the user’s experience working with any of the aforementioned databases.

Customers who come from smaller organizations or have less experience working in ODBC compliant databases love the automatic reporting ExpertScan provides. Customers who work in large institutions sometimes prefer Scannable Office because they have the personnel and resources to do much more analysis with the data in ODBC compliant databases.

So there you have it: A brief description on the differences in reporting your data (and previously – from creation). As stated, these are the two most distinct differences between ExpertScan and Scannable Office. But we’d love to chat with you about further nuances between the two! Feel free to contact us directly at any time!