The fate of the Affordable Care Act, the Joint Commission’s new risk scoring method, attracting new patients, improving patient satisfaction — it’s enough to make your head spin. You know the healthcare industry is constantly evolving, and if you’re like most Americans, you’re likely paying close attention to the current political climate and how it could affect your facility.
Patient satisfaction scores affect everything from how your hospital is reimbursed to how prospective patients view your facility and its staff, and while it may not seem like it, it is possible improve patient satisfaction without breaking the bank.
Think of it this way: Most patients don’t judge the quality of their medical care. Instead, they pay close attention to the environment in which they’re treated. Is it clean and quiet? Are staff members — everyone from the parking attendant, to nurses, gift shop workers and physicians — respectful?
Here are three ways you can improve patient satisfaction immediately.
1. Do Things in Real-Time:
Every hospital gathers data. However, most hospitals file away the data they collect, and if they remember, will look at it later. Make it a point to examine the data you gather in real-time. Doing so can allow you to easily address an issue impacting patient experience.
For example, you and your staff might be aware that patients often have issues understanding medication instructions. Instead of waiting to address the issue, make changes as soon as it’s made known. This kind of proactive approach not only improves patient satisfaction, it also reduces readmissions.
2. Reduce the Noise:
Patients need rest, but this can be hard to get in a hospital where they may have their vital signs taken several times during the night or be exposed to noises from staff and machines. Remedy this by eliminating staff breaks in public spaces, not using overhead paging and encouraging staff to keep their voices low.
3. Improve Patient Communication:
In addition to not getting enough rest, a lack of clear communication from physicians and nurses is among the most common patient complaints. One study found physicians interrupted patients 77 percent of the time.
One way to improve communication between both parties: The use of patient whiteboards. Make sure the board is in the patient’s direct line of sight and includes the names of the patient’s care team, a pain rating scale and goals for the day.
Make sure all boards are readable and have enough dry erase markers available. Remember, when a communication board is well presented, your patient and his or her family and friends will feel confident they are being checked on regularly.
Patient satisfaction efforts don’t have to be costly. Taking a look at real-time data, educating staff about how to improve communication with patients and families and making small fixes to reduce the noise in your facility can all dramatically (and easily) improve patient satisfaction.
Get more insight into how you can continuously improve patient satisfaction in an ever-changing healthcare landscape in this free guide.