The Priorities of Improving Patient Satisfaction

October 11, 2012
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patient satisfaction, patient experience, Hospitals, Providers, Communication, Revenue Cycle ManagamentListening to Your Patients

As healthcare organizations ramp up their effort to improve patient satisfaction, the list of competing priorities can be overwhelming.  In order to effectively tackle any patient satisfaction deficiencies in your organization, leaders must put f

patient satisfaction, patient experience, Hospitals, Providers, Communication, Revenue Cycle ManagamentListening to Your Patients

As healthcare organizations ramp up their effort to improve patient satisfaction, the list of competing priorities can be overwhelming.  In order to effectively tackle any patient satisfaction deficiencies in your organization, leaders must put forth an effort to listen to their patients. Today, various surveys can give executives the necessary insight into what patients think of their organization.  Once the lacking areas are identified, project teams should be assembled, empowered, and tasked with solving each problem area in accordance to the level of its severity.

While each healthcare system is different, it appears that there are common themes that directly impact patient satisfaction.  According to research conducted by the Beryl Institute and Catalyst Healthcare, the common themes include, but are not limited to:

      • Communication
      • Discharge Process
      • Wait Time
      • Responsiveness
      • Admissions Process
      • Pain Management

The same research also reveals that healthcare organizations are most successful at improving patient satisfaction if their efforts consist of the following activities: 

Training Programs

Continuous training programs ensure that employees are consistently reminded of the organization’s mission and vision for service excellence. Training is an opportunity to sharpen service skills, share success stories, and adjust the organization’s service approach if necessary.

Service Recovery Strategies

The ability to successfully resolve a problem is perhaps one of the most important skills service professionals can possess.  In healthcare, service recovery skills are imperative given the severity and potential of complications throughout the industry.  

Follow-up with Patients after Discharge 

Follow-up is often a missed step in service recovery cycles; however, it is crucial to the patient experience. Follow-up calls are not only impressive from a service standpoint, but they are also an opportunity to gather feedback from patients and ensure a proper recovery process. The follow-up process should align with the organization’s internal legal policies and procedures, and develop into an integral part of the patient experience strategy. 

Process Review and Performance Tracking 

In order for hospitals to make a lasting improvement to patient satisfaction, operational processes and procedures must be reviewed and adjusted to align with the organization’s service mission.

Healthcare systems should continuously measure their patient satisfaction effort, with surveys like HCAHPS, and adjust strategies as necessary. Listening to the patient is an important step in measuring the organization’s performance.

Whatever challenges your organization may be facing, prioritization of initiatives to address those issues is a challenge in and of itself.  To successfully achieve higher patient satisfaction, outside of instituting the activities above, the organization’s leadership must commit to service excellence, allocate the necessary resources, empower influential leaders to own the patient satisfaction initiative, and drive the changes they would like to see in their organization.

 

 
 

 

 

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