How to Measure Quality of Care and Patient Experience Virtually

Meri BrickFebruary 03, 20225 minute read

Virtual care has become a popular alternative for patients looking to be connected to a provider for a diagnosis, prescription refill, mental health treatment, and so much more. With telehealth sticking around for the long haul, the need for quality care and high patient satisfaction is becoming increasingly important.

This brings up the question of ‘how do you measure that?’ Great news! As experts in the telehealth field, we compiled our expertise and research from outside sources to answer that for you. Without further ado, let’s get into what you came here for.

Measuring Quality of Virtual Care

Ensuring patients are receiving quality care is at the forefront of all healthcare models and virtual care is no exception. With the widespread adoption and scaled-up use of telehealth, knowing how to measure the quality of care patients are receiving virtually is an important step to take before seeing patients.

Most, if not all, healthcare facilities and virtual care practices send out surveys to their patients to ensure they are delivering quality care. If you aren’t, you should be! When building out your survey, there are a few things to keep top of mind to ensure it's an effective and productive survey for you and your patients.

  • Send one out frequently: To ensure your providers and your practice are continually providing quality care, you should send out a survey to patients seen at least once a month, if not more often.

  • Make it easy for the patient: When building out your survey questions, keep in mind that patients will be more likely to take the time to fill it out if it's quick and painless to do so. If possible, make your answers in a scaled format (e.g., 1-10, strongly disagree to strongly agree, not at all likely to extremely likely) so all they need to do is click a button.

  • Ask effective and essential questions: Keep the survey short with essential questions that will give you answers you can act on. Some examples include:

    • Overall, how satisfied are you with your provider?

    • How satisfied are you with the quality of care you received?

    • Was it easy to make an appointment?

Along with your organization conducting a survey to measure the quality of care your practice is delivering, the healthcare plans you work with do as well! More than 90% of US health plans use the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) measures, set by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), to measure the quality of care the patients they cover are receiving.

HEDIS measures cover many buckets across quality of care delivery. Let’s get into them.

Effectiveness of Care

This bucket covers many performance measures to ensure the care patients are receiving is making a meaningful difference in their lives. It includes but not limited to:

  • Prevention and screening includes adult BMI assessments, childhood immunizations, and breast cancer screenings

  • Respiratory conditions like the use of spirometry testing and appropriate testing for children with respiratory issues

  • Diabetes and comprehensive diabetes care

  • Behavioral health with medication management, follow-up care after hospitalization for mental illness, and monitoring for individuals with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder

Access/Availability of Care

This bucket is pretty much exactly what it sounds like! It measures access to care for a variety of services and patients including:

  • Access to ambulatory health services for adults

  • Access to primary care providers for children and adolescents

  • Access to dental services

Utilization

The utilization bucket measures the number and percentage of individuals receiving a variety of services including:

  • Well-care visits

  • Mental health services

  • Antibiotic usage

Risk-Adjusted Utilization

This bucket includes the measurement of acute hospital utilization, emergency department utilization, and hospitalization for potentially preventable complications.

Measures Reported Using Electronic Clinical Data Systems

This is a relatively new reporting type introduced by the NCQA to better measure the quality of care. It involves using electronic data to provide a more holistic picture of services provided such as:

  • Immunization status documentation of patients

  • Depression screenings and follow-ups

  • Depression remission and symptom monitoring

If you’re looking for more information on HEDIS measures, check out the NCQA website with the nitty-gritty details and additional insights into each bucket.

Measuring Patient Experience with Virtual Care

Measuring patient experience has become increasingly important with the growth of virtual care. Ensuring patients are enjoying their care experience the same as they would in-person is essential for the growth and longevity of telehealth.

How do you measure patient experience with their telemedicine visits? Conduct a survey, of course! We put together some helpful tips for you to consider when building out your questionnaire.

  1. Send out a survey after each visit: To get the full scope of your patient’s experience we recommend sending out a survey within 24 hours of the end of the visit. This will allow you to identify and fix any issues in a timely manner so no other patients experience the same problem. This may sound like a lot but there are many tools that you can use to automate this process so there is no heavy lifting on your end!

  2. Keep the survey short and sweet: Keeping the survey you send out short will increase the number of patients that take the time to fill it out. The more responses you receive the better so you can be sure your patients are having a positive experience in their visits.

  3. Make sure the questions focus on the experience: Many times, healthcare companies that send out surveys, mix up quality and experience. While you should make sure you are measuring quality of care, this survey should be focused on patient experience. So, asking about their provider's communication skills, if they had trouble getting an appointment, and if they got the care they needed are things you should be focusing on when building out your survey!

In addition to individual hospitals, clinics, and telehealth companies conducting their own patient experience surveys, each year healthcare payers send out the Consumer Assessment of Health Plans Survey (CAPHS). This survey measures five different categories revolving around the patient experience including:

  • Getting the care they need

  • Getting care quickly

  • How well their doctors communicated with them

  • Health plan customer service

  • How they rate the health plan

This combination of these surveys has improved patient experience drastically and is essential moving forward to deliver a more meaningful experience for all lives in the United States.

Now that you know how to measure the quality of care and experience you are giving your patients, we want to introduce an easy way for you to launch and scale your services - by partnering with OpenLoop!

You can think of OpenLoop as a telehealth company that powers other telehealth companies. Our team of experts is dedicated to understanding your needs to match your organization with certified, multi-state licensed clinicians aligned to your mission and values. Along with staffing your visits, we take many of the back-office challenges off your plate, including:

  • Establishing your services with our MSO & PC groups nationwide

  • Managing your clinical staff including scheduling & payroll

  • Taking practice management duties off your to-do list to get you fully up and running, compliantly and efficiently

Interested in learning more about what we can do for your company? Get in touch!

Media Contact

Jess Greiner Director, Marketing
jess@openloophealth.com
641.780.1114