Patient Satisfaction Strongly Tied to Corporate Culture

October 7, 2012
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Patient Experience, Patient Satisfaction, Customer Services, Revenue Cycle Management, Shared Services A Focus on Patient Experience 

In recent years, healthcare organizations have turned the spotlight on patient satisfaction more than ever before – mostly due to new governmental regulations and increased competition in the industry.

Patient Experience, Patient Satisfaction, Customer Services, Revenue Cycle Management, Shared Services A Focus on Patient Experience 

In recent years, healthcare organizations have turned the spotlight on patient satisfaction more than ever before – mostly due to new governmental regulations and increased competition in the industry. Nowadays, healthcare executives want patients to leave their hospitals satisfied, and recommend their institution to others.  While progress has been made and healthcare professionals are encouraged with their hospitals’ efforts of improving the patient experience, there are still challenges that can significantly impede the efforts of patient experience advocates.

According to research conduced by The Beryl Institute, organizations that saw improvements in patient satisfaction attributed success to the following five drivers:

      • Strong and visible leadership and executive support
      • Support from clinical managers
      • Formalized operational processes that are focused on patient experience
      • Constant internal communication
      • Comprehensive employee orientation and continuous training

While improvements have been noticed, the following two areas are currently the biggest challenges facing healthcare organizations and their goal of achieving high patient satisfaction results:

Executive Commitment to Changing Culture:

Organizations and people generally resist change.  Healthcare systems tend to remain comfortable with a routine and familiar mode of operation, thereby often failing to recognize the changing needs of patients.  Changing an organization’s culture requires strong leadership, commitment to excellence, and service-driven providers and staff. Leaders must allocate the proper resources, listen to the market, remain flexible, understand the barriers and the drivers associated with a culture change, and commit to seeing their efforts come through.

According to the Patient Experience Benchmarking research conducted by the Beryl Institute and Catalyst Healthcare, most healthcare organizations striving to improve their patients’ experiences appoint committees and, in some cases, a patient satisfaction leader to oversee the organization’s endeavor.  However, most committees are too small and do not include key decision makers who can influence an organization-wide culture change.  Additionally, patient satisfaction leaders tend to be burdened with other organizational priorities that take away from being fully dedicated to leading the hospital’s patient experience effort.  Leadership support is vital to combating cultural resistance and inspiring change.

Aligning Incentives:

There is no better way for healthcare leaders to communicate the importance of patient satisfaction than tying performance reviews and finanical incentives directly to patient experience results.  Some hospitals are beginning to utilize HCAHPS scores and other surveys to not only comply with regualtions, but to also measure specific areas that are key to developing the hospital’s overall patient experience. 

It is evident that in the next decade healthcare executives are going to continue focusing on improving and evolving their service culture and patient experience goals.  In order to be ahead of the curve, executives must be willing to innovate, learn from pioneers in the service industry, and commit to selecting and training service-focused professionals.  


 
 

 

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