How can I compare service levels between my hospice and my competitors?

Filed under Key Questions
Originally published in Market Research Letter: March/April 2012

Q: How can I compare service levels between my hospice and my competitors?

A: Hospice patients and families usually base their assessment of your service, in part, on how often you visit them and how long you stay. Other factors could include responsiveness, as well as staff demeanor and attitudes, including empathy. Unless they are medical professionals, however, it’s difficult for them to assess the “quality of care.” The sum of their “feelings” about your organization manifests itself in satisfaction surveys. At present, the results of these surveys and other quality measures are not publicly published, making it difficult to ascertain how your clinical care compares to your local competitors. (For home health, clinical metrics are available through Medicare Certified Home Health Compare).

Healthcare Market Resources’ Hospice Visit Activity Report allows for comparisons with your local competitors. It shows, on average, how frequently by discipline a hospice sees its patients and how long those visits are reported to be. So if you see your patients more often and/or stay with them longer, you’ll have something quantifiable that demonstrates your superior service to referral sources. Keep in mind that patient disease and length of stay mix can be responsible for differences between hospices.

If you find your hospice has an advantage, make lots of “noise” in your marketplace to help create a long-lasting impression about your competitive advantage. The image in the mind of your referral sources may last well beyond the relevance of a single year’s worth of data. In any case, our Hospice Visit Activity Report offers an opportunity to benchmark your clinical practices against the norms of your market, which is the most meaningful comparison.