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Patient Satisfaction - How important is it to your organization?

August 24 2013 by Izzy Ramaswamy

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the polite patient

Don’t we all wish we had this guy for a patient. Maybe we could, what measures does your organization take to ensure high quality? Which tool do you use to measure it? does every patient get a survey sent home to fill out? how many are returned, and what do you do with the information? Do you solely really on the HCAHPS scores or is there an independent mechanism? Some could say when it comes to this if your not moving forward your going backwards. Customer satisfaction has become a priority in most all consumer industries, not just healthcare. Here is a good article: From Bad to Great: How One Radiology Department Made the Transition – “Until a short time ago, Advocate Condell Medical Center (ACMC) in Libertyville, Illinois, was in the bottom quartile in customer satisfaction. Its growth was stunted, at best, and annual losses of $50 million had become the norm. The radiology department was a shambles…” -by Julie Ritzer Ross on November 06, 2012.

In our health system, Patient Satisfaction has been measured for more than a decade through Press Ganey but that is only half the battle. We also survey the staff and the physicians separately each year . These scores impact our leadership from front line managers to executives financially as a percentage of tiered performance based merit or bonus. The data does surmise that all these measures add up to increased customer satisfaction but there is another piece of the puzzle – Service Recovery; The right words at the right time. “When you work with patients and their families, you usually don’t see people at their best. Anxiety, fear, grumpiness or pain may cause them to say things that they ordinarily wouldn’t say. The question is: when it happens to your employees, do you know what they would say in return?” There is plenty of formal education on this available to you including the one referenced here from Media-Partners.com. As most of you have probably noticed; aside from the lack of good coffee and snacks in the waiting room, survey results mostly refer to unreasonable delays, unfriendly staff, and/or lack of updates and information regarding the delays. How is your organization managing this? Is there a formal process for service recovery? Do managers or leadership round on patients in the waiting room or in the pre and post procedure area? should they? We do. We live in a new world of customer expectations, are they being met? . So what are the steps to fix it? Here is a great article on it from the ACHE.org website: Fixing Healthcare Service Failures. All food for thought as we move into a new era of healthcare. As Bill and Ted used to say – “Be Excellent to Each Other”, the rewards are far reaching and not just financial in nature.

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