The patient experience is directly associated with an organization’s reputation and ability to capitalize on market share.
Not only are hospitals being rewarded or penalized financially, public disclosure of quality, patient safety, and patient experience scores also affect status in their community.
Patients often make medical decisions based on reputation and word of mouth. Thus, physicians need to focus on patients’ satisfaction with care because it may drive patient volume more than medical expertise alone.
Hospitals and health systems are typically not involved in new and urgent efforts to track and control their online reputations. They may monitor complaints about rudeness, long waits, lack of face time with a doctor or something more serious.
When patients are asked to rate how doctor quality should be measured, clinical outcomes, such as getting cured of a disease, rarely come up. Patients talk about whether a doctor or nurse was kind to them, or whether their experience was fast and convenient. It’s assumed that the doctor is going to treat their illness or condition.
Another reason physicians might focus on patients’ experience of care is that there is evidence suggesting that “the frequency with which physicians are sued is related in part to patients’ satisfaction with interpersonal aspects of medical care.”
There is quantifiable evidence that measuring quality outcomes AND patient experience leads to quality improvement.
There is a benefit for clinicians for measuring patient experience of care since doing so has the potential to improve the overall quality of care.
Hospitals that have better engagement with patients may encourage greater adherence to clinical standards of care and follow-up. Patients who are more satisfied with a practice may be more likely to come in for visits and follow the recommendations of the clinicians that they trust.
Better patient experience scores could indicate that a hospital has stronger teamwork, organizational leadership, and commitment to improvement, characteristics that could be associated with better quality measures and patient experience scores.
Top performers from the patient experience perspective:
- Have the lowest avoidable readmissions
- Have better adherence with post-discharge guidelines for patients
- Have less utilization of unnecessary healthcare services
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