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Positive Impressions

Crothall's Patient Experience Strategy

Positive Impressions

The introduction of HCAHPS and Value-Based Purchasing has made patient experience even more critical. Crothall has created a cohesive approach balancing centralized programs with individual hospital strategies. Supported by a national team of experts, hospital managers have the tools they need to make positive patient impressions and drive sustainable HCAHPS improvement.


Patient satisfaction has been central to Crothall’s efforts since we began serving hospitals in 1991. Creating noticeably cleaner environments improved third-party patient satisfaction scores significantly. Crothall developed strategies specific to each survey, tailoring scripting, frequency, or amenities, depending on which survey was in place. While successful overall, it resulted in a fragmented system, with best practices scattered among our accounts.

With the advent of HCAHPS in 2006, surveys became standardized, participation became mandatory, and scores were made public. Many of the old survey strategies no longer work. HCAHPS forced all hospitals to develop a new approach to address a new challenge.


The key to changing patient perception is building a culture based on awareness of the associates’ role as part of the overall care team. Associates need to feel comfortable in their role as ambassadors of the hospital’s mission. This starts with hiring the right people with a customer service mentality. It is reinforced through ongoing training, and it is sustained through continuous recognition, reward, and engagement. It creates an empowered, patient-focused associate who is a full member of the care team, helping to do whatever is required to make each patient’s experience as positive as possible, exceeding expectations of what customer service means in a hospital setting.


A successful approach places hospital-specific patient experience initiatives in the context of a cohesive, overall strategy. While the battle is won in the trenches, there must be an overarching strategic battle plan. The efforts of the local hospital teams are buttressed by a national and regional team of patient experience specialists who can introduce best practices and tools, monitor results, and offer training and support when needed.

Crothall has developed the industry’s only national patient experience division, led by a national VP and a team of regionally based senior patient experience managers. The team is a resource but does not take responsibility for HCAHPS results from the individual hospital managers.

The team has established a powerful set of unit-level strategies based on national standards customized to each hospital’s need. It provides unit leaders, hourly associates, and clients with an array of resources focused on improving patient experience. We call the approach “Positive Impressions.”


Defining Moments logo

The first two seconds of an associate’s encounter with a patient present an opportunity to make a lasting, positive first impression. The set of strategies contained within Defining Moments gives associates all the tools to make that first impression a powerful experience and reinforce a positive message throughout the patient’s stay. Crothall’s strategy addresses appearance, verbal and non-verbal communication, behaviors, and interactions, all focused on driving satisfaction.


  • Appearance: Proper dress and grooming
  • Conversations: Opportunities to deliver positive messages
  • Non-Verbal Cues: Amenities and tactics to enhance perception
  • New Admission Visits: Setting and meeting expectations
  • Service Recovery: Turning problems into opportunities

Engagement logo

Without an engaged frontline team, the best strategies are destined to fail. Crothall works to create and maintain associate engagement, beginning with “hiring for attitude” and ensuring ongoing customer service training. This goal is supported by reward and recognition programs tied directly to HCAHPS success, encouraging meaningful, positive behaviors. In addition, the support of nursing is essential to building the loyal team atmosphere required to make patients secure. Crothall employs strategies to ensure collaborative relationships with this key group.


  • Associate Engagement
  • Reward & Recognition
  • Nursing Engagement

Tailored to Fit logo

Understanding that there is no “one size fits all” solution to patient experience challenges, Crothall has created flexible, customizable programs focused on each hospital’s specific issues and its mission and values. Further, Crothall recognizes that different strategies must be employed to meet the needs of different units within the hospital. This is possible through a keen attention to detail and by supplying unit managers with customizable, easy-to-use data measurement tools. This “digestible data” drives HCAHPS success and ensures an informed workforce focused on specific, achievable goals.


  • Unit-Specific Targets
  • Account Action Plans
  • Digestible Data

Expertise logo

Crothall’s national team of experts is always available as a resource for our unit managers. The team engages in data collection, analysis, and benchmarking, as well as patient experience research. Unit managers can access a wealth of knowledge through several educational opportunities, including weekly patient experience forums, monthly webinars, and regular seminars, provided by the regional and national patient experience managers. Led by a national VP, the patient experience team shares best practices throughout the country and provides in-service training to help drive HCAHPS success.


  • Multi-Disciplinary Training
  • Webinars
  • Patient Experience Forum
  • Quarterly Best Practice Reports
  • White Papers
  • CMS Submissions

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