Retooled Patient Medication Education in Oncology Improves HCAHPS Survey Scores

Retooled Patient Medication Education in Oncology Improves HCAHPS Survey Scores
Retooled Patient Medication Education in Oncology Improves HCAHPS Survey Scores

SAN ANTONIO, Tex.—Patient responses to the medication questions on the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey demonstrate improved understanding of their medications after implementation of an improved patient education process, reported Ingrid Blose, RN, BSN, OCN®, CMSRN, in an oral presentation at the ONS 41st Annual Congress.1

The HCAHPS is a national, publicly reported, standardized survey of patients' perspectives on their hospital care. Two survey questions address medication education delivered by the nurse.

At Providence Holy Cross Medical Center, in Mission Hills, California, responses to these 2 questions averaged 4% below the national average on surveys conducted in the last 2 quarters of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014, indicating a need for improved medication education tools and techniques.

An interprofessional team consisting of the nurse educator, the nurse manager, a clinical pharmacist, and oncology clinical nurses developed a colorful, easy-to-read, evidence-based, 2-page pamphlet listing the most common medications. The pamphlet explained each cancer medication, its purpose, plus additional information such as potential side effects and drug class.

The pamphlet, Indication and Common Side Effects of the Most Used Medications, was written in both English and Spanish, and was given to the patient on admission. Nurses reviewed and referred to the pamphlet throughout the patient's hospital stay to help reinforce the information, explained Blose. In addition, nurses emphasized those medications specific to each patient, educating the patient and family members with the administration of each drug, using the teach-back method.

After implementation of the new patient education practices, HCAHPS scores on the medication questions improved to 7% above the national average. Postimplementation results were obtained for the last quarter of 2014 and first 2 quarters of 2015.

Due to the success achieved in the oncology department, the program was expanded to all departments at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center. The handout was adapted to each specific clinical area's most common medications. Improvements in other departments suggest the handout helps patients feel informed and included in their plans of care.


1. Haight T, Blose I. Improving patients' perception of medication education at the bedside. Oral presentation at: Oncology Nursing Society 41st Annual Congress; April 29-May 1, 2016; San Antonio, TX.

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