Google "patient satisfaction" or "patient experience" and you will be presented with an overwhelming volume of information. The material will range from approaches contending that a focus on patient satisfaction can lead to bad medicine (1) to the recently implemented five-star rating system (2) that Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) currently deployed intending to help consumers identify hospitals with a high level of patient satisfaction.
Nearly always, a balanced approach to patient satisfaction will most likely deliver the most consistent success over time. It is about ensuring there are strong, sustainable systems along with a welcoming attitude.
The Systems Approach:
It won’t happen by wishing it to be. It won’t happen by sending an email or designing an incentive package. It is also not just about nurses being "nicer" or more responsive to call lights.
Below are three examples of the system you will need to have firmly in place.
An alarming number of hospitals continue to approach discharge calling as a vehicle to ask the patient to score them well to look good in a survey. Instead, the approach should be to take part in the continuum of care. This is what will improve their experience. High Touch & High Tech
Many executives go on patient rounds with the belief they are improving patient satisfaction. However, no executive can make enough rounds to directly impact the results. Instead, move this effort to meeting on a regular basis with departmental staff (patient and non-patient care) and ensure they have the tools and support to deliver consistent, high-quality service. This is what will improve their experience. High Touch
“The volumes are too high.” “We could never staff for that.” “We don’t have time.” These are all valid concerns; however, there is technology and processes that are available to collect real-time feedback from every patient every day. This is what will improve their experience. High Touch & High Tech
1) Rice, S. (2015, June 4). Bioethicists say patient-satisfaction surveys could lead to bad medicine. Retrieved July 2, 2015.
2) Patient survey (HCAHPS) - Hospital | Data.Medicare.Gov. (n.d.). Retrieved July 2, 2015.