MIPS Extreme & Uncontrollable Circumstances Application Extended

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has reopened the extreme and uncontrollable circumstances exception application for the 2020 performance year due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Clinicians, groups, and virtual groups have until March 31, 2021 to submit an application requesting MIPS performance category reweighting.
Data for the 2020 performance year that has already been submitted cannot be overridden with the application, and will be scored by CMS.
Learn more about the application process at https://qpp.cms.gov/resources/covid19.

March 5th, 2021 Categories: featured, MIPS Information

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Best Practice: Responding to Online Reviews

respond to online reviews
Over 80% of patients turn to Google when looking for a new healthcare provider. SurveyVitals’ online reputation tools have helped boost client Google reviews by 281%. While increasing your number of online reviews is essential for attracting new patients, it’s equally important to respond to these reviews appropriately.
Patients are certainly reading online reviews, but they’re also likely to be reading your responses to them. Eighty-nine percent of consumers read business responses to online reviews. Not only do these responses build trust with your current and prospective patients, but they have the potential to negate damage to your online reputation and prevent missed opportunities for patient growth.
When responding to online reviews, it’s important to address the patient’s concern while also being mindful of HIPAA. Simply acknowledging that the reviewer is a patient of your practice can be a violation of HIPAA; the patient’s review is not authorization for you to release any of their protected health information.
The wrong response to a patient review can have negative consequences. Here are some common mistakes and best practices to consider when responding to online reviews for your practice.

What to avoid in responses to online reviews

  1. Take caution not to acknowledge that the reviewer is a patient. Even a statement such as, “We’re sorry you experienced a long wait to check in for your appointment” confirms the reviewer was seen at your practice.
  2. Don’t repeat any information given in the review. If the reviewer states their treatment for a certain condition was ineffective, don’t discuss that condition or treatment by name.
  3. Avoid getting defensive. You may disagree with the review, but prospective patients may shy away from your practice if your responses are defensive or argumentative.

Best practices for responding to online reviews

  1. Thank the reviewer. A simple “Thank you for taking the time to leave a review” is appropriate. Be cautious not to thank them for their feedback about their visit, as this would be confirming their status as a patient.
  2. Keep it brief. Use generic terminology and keep your response short and simple.
  3. Use response templates. Create generic, canned responses that include a simple “thank you” and contact information. For example, a canned response for a negative review might be: Thank you for leaving a review. Please contact our [Position Title] at [Phone or Email] so we can learn more.
SurveyVitals can help you grow your online reputation. Schedule a demo to learn more.

March 3rd, 2021 Categories: Anesthesia, Best Practices, featured, Outpatient Practice, Patient Experience, Product Features, Reputation Management

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Tips to Ease Telehealth Wait Time Concerns

Wait times have long been a common concern for patients at office-based medical appointments. When telehealth skyrocketed in popularity last year, it became clear that wait times are even more of a frustration for patients during virtual visits.
The numbers show wait times are the biggest pain point for patients who use telehealth. While the national composite mean for wait times during in-person visits in 2020 was 4.79, it was only 4.51 for virtual visits. Although virtual visits offer convenience and can be done from the comfort of the patient’s own home, wait times cannot be ignored.
The American Medical Association says health professionals are seeing 50-175 times the number of patients through telehealth as they did prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because this growth was sudden and unexpected, healthcare providers and organizations are having to learn and adjust processes as they go. Delays are inevitable, but for the patient, this can be exceptionally stressful; after all, during a virtual visit there is no one nearby who can keep them informed of their wait.
In this case, communicating with your patients up front and providing clear instructions for virtual visits is the best possible way to ease wait time frustrations. Since many patients are new to telehealth, sending an email with detailed instructions or providing a link to the information on your website prior to the scheduled visit is ideal.

Required Equipment

Inform the patient of the equipment or devices (including system requirements) that can be used for their visit.

Logging In

An analysis of patient comments on our Telehealth Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire showed nearly 27% of patients had trouble logging in or connecting to their telehealth visit.
Provide instructions on where and how the patient will log into their visit. If a username and password are required, ensure the patient understands how to set up an account if they don’t already have one. Encourage your patients to log on for their visit 10-15 minutes early in the event they have connectivity issues.
Email Links
If your practice emails a link to the patient to join the visit, tell the patient how long prior to their appointment time they can expect to receive the link. When sending links, always double-check the patient’s email address at the time of scheduling.
Direct Phone Calls
If the provider will call the patient directly, double-check the patient’s phone number at the time of scheduling. As with email, notify the patient of the approximate time their provider will be calling. When possible, let the patient know what number the provider will be calling from.
Troubleshooting
Provide the patient with troubleshooting FAQs for common connection issues.

Delays

While it may not be feasible to provide updates to the patient during their wait, it’s a good idea to set an expectation for the amount of time the patient may have to wait after their appointment start time. Provide information on who they should contact in the event their wait lasts longer than a specified amount of time, such as 15 minutes.
By proactively communicating to all patients about common setbacks and causes for delays, the efficiency of your virtual visits may increase and positively impact wait times.

Learn More

SurveyVitals offers a Telehealth Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire to gather feedback from your patients on their virtual visit experiences with your practice. Learn more here or sign up for a demo.

February 17th, 2021 Categories: Best Practices, COVID-19, featured, Outpatient Practice, Patient Experience, Telehealth

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New! Monthly Trend Report

At SurveyVitals, we hope you view your dedicated client account manager and the online solution as an extension of your business. This is why we are continually striving to keep you and your team apprised of performance while you are on the go. The new Trend Report sends a high-level overview of your survey scores straight to your inbox. This monthly digest provides a 90-day lookback and can guide you as you use the portal to drill down into your detailed performance data.
monthly trend report
In your Trend Report, you will find a variety of performance insights.
Survey and Engagement Metrics
See a quick overview of survey count, response rate, and engagement metrics.
Best and Lowest Rated Performers
Quickly gauge which clinicians and divisions in your organization are performing the highest, and which need the most improvement.
Uptrending and Downtrending Performers
Use uptrend and downtrend data to dive deeper into performance with certain locations or individuals, and take action.
The Monthly Trend Report can be enabled for all users in your organization, or for select individuals. Information presented in the report is dependent on user type.
If you are a SurveyVitals user, view the article in the Help Center to learn how to enable the Monthly Trend Report.  Want to learn more about SurveyVitals, request more information here.

December 11th, 2020 Categories: featured, Patient Experience, Product Features

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SurveyVitals Joins Decentralized Trials & Research Alliance

SURVEYVITALS JOINS DECENTRALIZED TRIALS & RESEARCH ALLIANCE (DTRA) TO DEMOCRATIZE AND ACCELERATE CLINICAL TRIALS
New Global Industry Coalition That Aims to Dramatically Increase Access for All Patients Populations in Clinical Trials and Research Launches Today
BOISE, ID – SurveyVitals, Inc. joins an historic alliance of fifty life sciences and healthcare organizations that seeks to accelerate the broad adoption of patient-focused, decentralized clinical trials and research. The “Decentralized Trials & Research Alliance (DTRA),” which launches December 10th, 2020, plans to unite industry stakeholders, including healthcare companies, regulators, patient groups and research organizations with a singular mission to make clinical trial participation widely accessible by advancing policies, research practices and digital-health technologies in decentralized clinical research.
“SurveyVitals is honored to support the founding of the DTRA,” said Blake Vosburgh, President of SurveyVitals. “Decentralized trials, as both a continuity countermeasure and a proactive protocol, create an opportunity for greater patient centricity. By engaging directly with the patient to understand the quality of their experience, the weight of their burden and the detail of the value of the trial to each individual, sponsors and CROs can adapt more quickly to ensure patient retention, inspire protocol adherence and improve future trial design.”
“We are extremely gratified to welcome SurveyVitals to the ‘Decentralized Trials & Research Alliance,’” said Amir Kalali, MD, founder of several collaborative life science communities, and co-convenor of DTRA. “By advancing decentralized research we can make the clinical trial process more patient-focused, increase trial efficiency and encourage use of technologies. We are excited by SurveyVitals’ commitment to embracing decentralized trials and to changing the culture that has been the rate limiter to innovation.”
Experts estimate that COVID-19 may set back non-pandemic clinical trials by several years due to prospective patients’ inability or reluctance to schedule visits at physical research locations. Decentralized approaches to conducting research facilitate participation by a more diverse patient population and could ease COVID-19-imposed difficulties for both patients and clinical investigators. Inclusion of representative patient populations in clinical trials by race, age and geographic location has long been an operational challenge. COVID-19 has amplified the disparities and inclusion biases that have become hurdles for potential trial participants.
“Now is the time to share ideas and insights that will chart the future course of clinical trials, accelerating drug development and saving lives – and by taking part in the DTRA, SurveyVitals is demonstrating its leadership to drive change,” said Craig Lipset, DTRA co-convener, clinical innovation advisor, and a pioneer in decentralized trials. “We have a responsibility to advance the health of people with unmet medical needs, and by convening stakeholders from pharma companies, regulators, technology leaders and patient communities, we can remove remaining barriers to adoption and impact patients today.”
SurveyVitals joins with its peer DTRA Member organizations to provide expertise to identify and address gaps and needs and advance best practices through effective education and communication. SurveyVitals urges other organizations interested in taking part to visit DTRA.org.
ABOUT DTRA: The Decentralized Trials & Research Alliance (DTRA) was convened to enable collaboration of stakeholders to accelerate the adoption of patient-focused, decentralized clinical trials and research within life sciences and healthcare through education and research. It works to make research participation accessible to everyone, enabled by the consistent, widespread adoption of appropriate decentralized research methods. Follow DTRA on Twitter and LinkedIn for more information.
ABOUT SURVEYVITALS, INC: For over 15 years, SurveyVitals mission has been to partner with healthcare organizations and clinicians to understand and improve the patient experience using innovative technology. In-depth, intuitive reporting tools provide actionable insights in real-time to support data-driven decision making. SurveyVitals offers comprehensive solutions, including a unique blend of digital patient surveys, CMS-approved CAHPS administration, and online reputation tools to help organizations of all sizes and specialties meet their goals. To learn more visit www.SurveyVitals.com.
For further information please contact:
Media Contacts:
Glenn Silver
Lazar – Finn Partners
glenn.silver@finnpartners.com
(646) 871-8485
Kyra Maples
SurveyVitals, Inc.
kyra@surveyvitals.com
For Non-Media Inquiries:
DTRA Secretariat
secretariat@dtra.org
(619) 209-7371
 

December 10th, 2020 Categories: COVID-19, featured, Patient Experience, Press Release

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MIPS 2021: Proposed Rule Key Takeaways

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released the Quality Payment Program (QPP) proposed rule for the 2021 performance year. To accommodate for the challenges posed by COVID-19, CMS is not proposing many significant changes to the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) for 2021. Here are the highlights of the proposed rule for next year. For information on the current performance year, see our MIPS 2020 page.

MIPS Value Pathways

Introduction of MIPS Value Pathways (MVPs), the new framework originally set to begin implementation in the 2021 performance year, will be postponed. CMS will continue to work on engaging stakeholders and developing the framework’s guiding principles.

APM Performance Pathway

CMS has proposed an APM Performance Pathway (APP), complementary to MVPs. This option would be available to MIPS APM participants only and would be composed of a fixed set of measures for each performance category. The APP performance measures would also satisfy reporting requirements for the Medicare Shared Savings Program quality scoring.

Performance Category Weights

In 2021, the proposed Quality performance category weight will be reduced from 45 percent to 40 percent. The Cost category weight will increase from 15 percent to 20 percent.

MIPS Performance Category Weights

Performance Threshold

For the 2021 performance period, CMS proposes to increase the performance threshold (maximum number of points needed to avoid a negative payment adjustment) from 45 to 50 points. There is no change to the exceptional performance threshold (number of points needed for a positive payment adjustment) of 85 points.

MIPS Performance Thresholds

Performance Categories

Quality Category

CMS proposes to use performance period benchmarks, rather than historical, to score quality measures. Previously, the benchmarking baseline period was the 12-month calendar year two years prior to the MIPS performance year. CMS hopes to ensure accurate and reliable data due to possible gaps in baseline data due to COVID-19. Therefore, in 2021, the agency proposes to use benchmarks from the 2021 performance period instead of the 2019 calendar year.

CMS also proposes to end the CMS Web Interface as a quality reporting option for ACOs and registered groups, virtual groups, or other APM Entities beginning with the 2021 performance period.

Improvement Activities Category

Minimal updates would be made to the Improvement Activities inventory. A process would also be established for agency-nominated improvement activities.

In 2021, there are no proposed changes to the requirement that at least 50% of the clinicians in the group or virtual group must perform the same activity during any continuous 90-day period in the performance year.

Cost Category

CMS proposes to update existing measure specifications to include telehealth services that are directly applicable to existing episode-based cost measures and the TPCC measure.

COVID-19 Flexibility Scoring Proposals

For the 2020 performance period only, the maximum number of bonus points available for the complex patient bonus would be 10, to account for the additional complexity of treating patients during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

You can view the full 2021 QPP Proposed Rule fact sheet here.

MIPS and SurveyVitals

SurveyVitals can help you satisfy certain MIPS requirements. Learn more on our MIPS page, sign up for a demo, or chat with us using the blue chat icon below.

August 6th, 2020 Categories: featured, MIPS Information

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COVID-19 and Patient Anxiety: Top 5 Concerns

It’s not uncommon for patients visiting the doctor to experience anxiety related to their symptoms, diagnosis, or treatment. The spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has introduced a new type of anxiety for many patients: the fear of exposure to the virus. Many Americans are even avoiding medical care due to fear of contracting the virus in a healthcare setting.

Using SurveyVitals’ comment sentiment analysis and keyword search, we reviewed patient comments specific to COVID-19 procedures in office-based practices. We identified the top five patient concerns related to fear of clinical contamination. Taking steps to address these concerns may increase your patients’ comfort level with your care.

Top 5 Patient Concerns

#1: Visitor Screening

Screening patients and visitors prior to entry may look different from one practice to the next. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has published recommendations for screening patients for COVID-19 symptoms and risk potential.

This screening at the building entrance gives peace of mind for patients who worry they will come in contact with someone infected with COVID-19. It is important to have a triaging process in place so patients can feel at ease in your facility.

#2: Shared Items

Patients are particularly apprehensive about handling shared items such as pens, clipboards, or tablets. Whenever possible, offer the option for patients to fill out paperwork online prior to their visit.

For patients who do need to fill out forms onsite, disinfect pens and clipboards after each use. Consider having a clearly-labeled ‘clean’ set of pens and clipboards for patients to use.

In the waiting room, remove magazines and toys. If wifi is available, post the login information so patients can use their phones while they wait.

#3: Waiting Room Distancing

Many patients express discomfort with their proximity to other people in the waiting room. The CDC guidelines for clinic COVID-19 preparedness specify that waiting rooms should be set up to allow for six feet of distance between patients. Use signs to designate seating as off-limits, or remove chairs from the waiting room to provide adequate social distancing.

For check-in and check-out, place markers on the floor for patients to stand on to maintain six feet of distance.

If social distancing is not feasible in your waiting room, consider having patients wait in their cars or in a designated outdoor waiting area. If possible, you may also set up partitions inside.

#4: Face Masks

The CDC has published recommendations regarding personal protective equipment (PPE) for clinicians and symptomatic patients. However, required use of masks by all staff (both clinical and office) as well as patients and visitors is important in reducing patient anxiety about COVID-19 exposure.

If masks are required at your facility, make the policy known when scheduling the appointment and again with any reminders sent to the patient.

Sometimes patients can have difficulty with understanding their provider or another staff member due to mask use. Before removing your mask, view this article on communicating effectively while following COVID-19 prevention procedures.

#5: Offering Supplies

It’s crucial to offer hand sanitizer and tissues, and to ensure patients can easily access trash cans and soap at sinks. Patients without access to these supplies are likely to experience anxiety about contamination, especially if they have had to handle shared items such as pens, or if they’ve had to touch door handles or equipment.

SurveyVitals Study of Patient Views on COVID-19

Since March 2020, SurveyVitals has surveyed over 100,000 patients to capture public sentiment regarding COVID-19. View the ongoing study here and sign up for a demo today to learn how you can take part while collecting valuable feedback about the patient experience in your organization.

July 23rd, 2020 Categories: Best Practices, COVID-19, featured, Outpatient Practice

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New Features: Telehealth Survey and Updated Survey Interface

The SurveyVitals solution is continuously evolving to fit our users’ unique needs–healthcare organizations of all sizes and specialties. Improvements and new developments to the online reporting patient experience platform come as a result of direct input and asks from clients.

Our newly released telehealth survey solution makes it easy for practices providing both in-person visits and audio/visual offerings to understand and measure what might feel like a new experience. Additionally, the patient survey interface has been optimized to improve user experience. To learn more about these releases, read below or contact your SurveyVitals account manager.

Interested in learning more about SurveyVitals? Request more information here.

Telehealth Survey

Due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, more healthcare organizations are offering virtual visits than ever before to reduce the risk of exposure to patients and staff. To help our clients adapt, we developed the Telehealth Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire (TPSQ).

The telehealth survey features 12 questions about the patient experience with virtual visits within your healthcare organization. These questions cover scheduling the visit, logging on, provider communication and interactions, and willingness to recommend.

The telehealth survey easily adapts to your workflow. Organizations offering both in-person and telehealth visits can upload a single patient list for both visit types, so no additional work is needed after survey setup is complete.

Updated Survey Interface

Our new digital survey interface was designed to improve the user experience for patients while taking the survey. The update ensures a consistent experience and furthers patient accessibility. Over 90% of SurveyVitals digital surveys are completed on mobile devices.

Telehealth Survey New Interface

If you are interested in enabling the telehealth survey for your organization or have questions about the updated survey interface, reach out to your SurveyVitals Account Manager or contact us using the blue chat icon at the bottom of the screen.

June 16th, 2020 Categories: COVID-19, featured, Outpatient Practice, Patient Experience

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SurveyVitals Releases National COVID-19 ‘Patient Views’ Report

25% increase in those who self-report to be quarantining due to the virus

BOISE, ID – SurveyVitals, Inc., the nation’s leading digital patient experience survey provider, today released its findings of an ongoing nationwide study about how the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is impacting Americans’ lives. SurveyVitals collected and analyzed over 16,000 initial responses from patients across 1,800 healthcare practice locations in the U.S. to learn more about trending concerns related to COVID-19.

“We deployed this question set in partnership with our healthcare clients on the front lines to help educate the public about CDC recommendations while also capturing important feedback to make national benchmark data available,” said Blake Vosburgh, President of SurveyVitals. “Understanding public sentiment on COVID-19 is critical to help identify potential gaps in education and inform future outreach as we face this unprecedented global health crisis.”

A six-question addendum set about the coronavirus was provided to patients at the conclusion of a regularly administered SurveyVitals patient experience survey. Patient responses were captured using a three-pronged contact methodology: text message, email and interactive voice response call. Data was processed using SurveyVitals’ proprietary reporting platform with text comments undergoing sentiment and topical analysis.

Key Takeaways from SurveyVitals’ COVID-19 ‘Patient Views’ Report
  • As the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. rises, the number of people who report quarantining is increasing. Over the course of the study, there has been a 25% increase in the number of people indicating they are quarantining due to the virus.
  • The Silent Generation, those most at risk according to the CDC for severe complications due to COVID-19, report the highest levels of concern (60% strongly agree that the coronavirus is concerning), while Generation Z is seemingly the least concerned (40% strongly agree).
  • In open-text comments about the impact of the coronavirus, 19% of respondents mention or express concern about economic impact, and 12% address the difficulties of social isolation and the effects it could have on mental health.
  • There are noticeable differences between genders in response to the coronavirus. Women are more likely to share their thoughts (6%^), are more concerned about the virus (5%^), perceive a larger impact to their daily lives (2%^), and are quarantining more (13%^) than men.

The full aggregated report can be accessed here, with featured visualizations updating in real-time. SurveyVitals will amend key report findings as additional responses are collected.

About SurveyVitals

For over 15 years, SurveyVitals’ mission has been to partner with healthcare organizations and providers to understand and improve the patient experience using innovative technology. In-depth, intuitive reporting tools provide actionable insights in real-time to support data-driven decision making. SurveyVitals offers comprehensive solutions, including a unique blend of digital patient surveys, CMS-approved CAHPS administration, and online reputation tools to help organizations of all sizes and specialties meet their goals. Join the over 16,000 clinicians who are already experiencing the SurveyVitals difference. To learn more visit www.SurveyVitals.com.

Contact

To learn more about SurveyVitals or request a demo, please click here or contact Devon Smith, Director of Strategic Programs (devon@surveyvitals.com).

For media inquiries, please contact Kyra Maples, Chief Operating Officer. (kyra@surveyvitals.com)

April 8th, 2020 Categories: COVID-19, featured, Press Release

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New Feature: SPSQ Low Score Comment Prompts

Low Score Comment Prompts

Better understand patient concerns with our low-score survey logic, now included on our Standard Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire (SPSQ). When patients select a score of a ‘1’ or ‘2’ on the five-point Likert scale for any standard survey question, they will be prompted to leave a comment describing their experience in that area.

The long-term use of this feature on our Anesthesia Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire (APSQ2) has been effective in helping providers to better understand trends and improvement opportunities in specific areas. These prompts encourage patients to include details about a specific part of their experience, providing deeper insights than often gained with generalized comment prompts at the end of a survey. Please note, there will be no change to the existing SPSQ comment questions with the addition of the low score prompts.

To gain even more insight from your patient feedback, use our sentiment analysis tool to review patient low score comments. This will help you to identify the most critical feedback quickly.

Have questions about this new feature or the SPSQ survey? Chat with us using the blue chat icon below, or reach out to your client account manager. Interested in learning more about SurveyVitals? Request a demo of the solution here.

December 16th, 2019 Categories: featured, Outpatient Practice, Patient Experience, Product Features

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Recent Posts

MIPS Extreme & Uncontrollable Circumstances Application Extended
March 5, 2021

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has reopened the extreme and uncontrollable circumstances exception application for the 2020 performance year due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Clinicians, groups, and virtual groups have until March 31, 2021 to submit an application requesting MIPS performance category reweighting. Data for the 2020 performance year that […]

respond to online reviews
Best Practice: Responding to Online Reviews
March 3, 2021

Over 80% of patients turn to Google when looking for a new healthcare provider. SurveyVitals’ online reputation tools have helped boost client Google reviews by 281%. While increasing your number of online reviews is essential for attracting new patients, it’s equally important to respond to these reviews appropriately. Patients are certainly reading online reviews, but […]

Tips to Ease Telehealth Wait Time Concerns
February 17, 2021

Wait times have long been a common concern for patients at office-based medical appointments. When telehealth skyrocketed in popularity last year, it became clear that wait times are even more of a frustration for patients during virtual visits. The numbers show wait times are the biggest pain point for patients who use telehealth. While the […]

Four Ways Reception Affects the Patient Experience
February 12, 2021

When measuring the patient experience, it’s important not only to examine the doctor-patient relationship and interactions with clinical staff, but also where it all begins: at reception. Although front desk staff aren’t treating patients, their role in the patient experience is critical. It’s so important, in fact, that a patient may switch doctors simply because […]