Patient Satisfaction: What’s It Worth to Your Organization?

Monday, May 23rd, 2011
This post was written by Patricia Donovan

There’s a lot of heated debate about whether patient satisfaction ratings should figure into healthcare quality and reimbursement models. The fact is, CMS already posts patient satisfaction ratings in 10 key areas on its Hospital Compare site. It’s only a matter of time before the Physician Compare site follows suit.

We’ve just launched a new survey on Improving Patient Experience and Satisfaction. Please tell us how your organization is working to improve patients’ and members’ experience and satisfaction with their care by June 20. We’ll e-mail you a free summary of survey results once it is compiled in mid-July. We’ll be sharing some of the most impressive strategies in future blog posts and publications.

In the meantime, we’ve heard about a hospital that claims to be the first in the nation to solicit and publish patient reviews. Hill Country Memorial in central Texas integrates online rating and review tools into its Web site. Patients can rate the Patient Experience, Quality of Care, or any of a number of hospital departments. The published reviews capture the good, the bad and the ugly…and Mark Peterson, the hospital’s director of customer experience, responds to many of them.

In an April 2011 post on patient satisfaction, a blogger for Better In Emergency Medicine describes how he has come to view that there is value in pursuing a goal of more satisfied patients:

Needless to say, as I mature in my practice, I have come to realize that there is a lot of truth to the statement, “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” With that in mind, I want to share some key points from a nice review of customer satisfaction that I stumbled upon from the Emergency Medicine Clinics of North America.

So why pursue a goal of having more satisfied patients?

There are multiple demonstrating benefits from hospitals which perform better:

  • Staff morale improves (Turnover decreases, work is more enjoyable)
  • Malpractice risk decreases (Happy patients sue less frequently)
  • Patients respond better to treatment (Patients follow instructions when they believe that they received good care)
  • Hospital finances improve (Patients recommend the facility and will come back)

We came across this brief video from HcPro on improving patient satisfaction. While geared to hospitals, the six tips contained herein can be adapted for physician practices as well as health plans.

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