Susan E. Mazer’s Blog

Thoughts and ideas on healthcare

Hi, and welcome to my blog! I’m Susan E. Mazer — a knowledge expert and thought leader on how the environment of care impacts the patient experience. Topics I write about include safety, satisfaction, hospital noise, nursing, care at the bedside, and much more. Subscribe below to get email notices so you won’t miss any great content.


Happy 20th Birthday, HIPAA!

August 19, 2016

Birthdays are always fun. Well, sometimes. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is 20 years old this year. It was born out of wedlock, the result of a union between an industry that cannot be trusted and patients who must be protected. No, there was no marriage because the economies could not be

Find out More
Happy Birthday candles
  • Pain Medication

    Removing Pain Management Questions is Not the Answer

    August 12, 2016

    When I first read about the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ proposal to remove the pain management questions from the HCAHPS survey to combat the opioid epidemic, I thought it was strange. However, as I learned more, it became clear that the link between HCAHPS and the opioid epidemic is because more may be considered

    Read more >
  • 5-star rating

    Overall Hospital Star Rating System is Seriously Flawed

    August 5, 2016

    When I first heard that CMS planned on introducing a hospital star rating system, I thought, “We’ve done it! We’ve finally reduced healthcare to 5 stars, like a Motel-8!” This is now a reality. CMS calls the star rating an “overall rating,” which considers 64 quality measures, many of them based on HCAHPS scores. And, as many

    Read more >
  • Senior Man in Hospital bed alone

    What Do Patient Satisfaction Surveys & the HCAHPS Survey Tell Us?

    July 29, 2016

    There are many similarities between patient experience surveys and the HCAHPS survey. They are both directed to patients, they both have multiple-choice questions, and they are both used to help hospitals improve the quality of care. And, yet, they each ask totally different questions and provide totally different kinds of information. Breaking Down the Surveys A patient

    Read more >
  • Handwashing (1)

    When What We Believe and Practice is Outdated

    July 15, 2016

    Through the history of science, beliefs have been disproven by empirical evidence and still, whole societies have refused to be influenced by new information. In fact, science was once considered heresy by the Church and unexplainable events were considered satanic. The battle between science and faith is ongoing. We are now in the 21st Century.  Yet, we

    Read more >
  • music as environmental design

    Music as Environmental Design: What Does the Patient Hear?

    July 8, 2016

    Today I walked to Starbucks about mile and a half from my home.  It’s a good way to get an early three-mile walk in before my day starts. I have done this for many years.  However, what I walked into today was very different. Once I got my soy latte, the friend I was with mentioned the music, which

    Read more >
  • patient education

    Encore Post: Hospital Room as the Classroom of Recovery

    July 1, 2016

    Note:  This is a post from 2014 that is still relevant to the hot-button issue of preventing readmissions. There are many ways to learn.  However, the ultimate goal of all teaching is to transfer information from teacher to students so completely that what is learned cannot be unlearned. For patients, the information must be meaningful and motivational for

    Read more >

    Nothing But Words: Does HCAHPS Truly Measure the Patient Experience?

    June 24, 2016

    Contrary to what some might think, the patient experience movement wasn’t inspired by just one event or just one speech. It has a history, a kind of genealogy. From Wikipedia: “The word patient originally meant ‘one who suffers’. This English noun comes from the Latin word patiens, the present participle of the deponent verb, patior, meaning ‘I

    Read more >
  • patient safety

    To Follow or Not: The Rules About Patient Safety

    June 17, 2016

    For the very first time ever, I was called for jury duty last week in the 2nd District Court in Washoe County, Nevada. I tried to think of some great excuse to get out of it, but, alas, none was to be had. So, I showed up on Monday, one among 45 other potential jurors. As

    Read more >
  • dreamstime_s_36382852

    Waiting, Waiting, and More Waiting: Is This Quality Care?

    June 10, 2016

    The more we wait, the more we hate waiting. And, when we are not feeling well or with a family member in the ED, waiting reaches the highest point of frustration. I have written this in the past and I’ll write it again: For every minute that one waits, one also stops engaging in anything but the wait. William James, an American philosopher and

    Read more >
  • patient experience

    New Financial Motivation for Investing in the Patient Experience

    May 20, 2016

    The push to improve the patient experience was given financial teeth several years ago when HCAHPS scores were linked to reimbursements. The message was: Do poorly and be fined by penalties. Not necessarily an ideal way to motivate hospital leaders to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. But recent data shows that facing penalties may not be the

    Read more >