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23 Jul

TBT: Patient experience & satisfaction - Have you got it covered?

TBT: Patient experience & satisfaction - Have you got it covered?

In healthcare today the “golden ring” is high ratings in patient satisfaction. Hospital patient satisfaction scores - once a well-guarded statistic – is now publicly transparent through the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey. Patient Satisfaction could also be considered an economic necessity for most hospitals in the U.S. Health system – high marks in HCAHPS scores equals higher levels of Medicaid/Medicare reimbursements (and vice versa). So bottom-line, leadership is paying attention and has been for a number of years.

The challenge, as I have witnessed, is achieving consistently high levels of patient satisfaction which can be as difficult as pushing a rope. The reason - a hospital's satisfaction is driven – not by the great clinical care the patient received while in the hospital – but by those small interactions and events that happen to the patient and their families during their hospital stay.

It is the small things that matter, not unlike any other customer engagement event in our retail world.

    Was the staff courteous?
    Was the environment clean and easy to navigate?
    Was the food served as you requested?

These are a host of small things that add up to the overall experience.

Let’s take the patient gown as an example. It has always been the “butt” of the joke – if you will allow the pun. You may have heard the one about hospital gowns coming in three sizes - short, shorter and don‘t bend over!  How about this one - hospital gowns are like health insurance, you can never have enough coverage! But have you ever considered the impact that a poorly fitting hospital gown can have on the patient’s dignity and thus their overall experience and satisfaction?  

Consider this, recently a large healthcare provider began examining their patient satisfaction scores and discovered… “The major complaint we’re currently getting from many patients is the lack of comfort and dignity in the patient gowns we are offering during their hospital stay.”  Their expectation is…"By offering a better, nicer and more functional patient gown, the HCAHPS scores are expected to improve when it comes to questions related to patients' hospital experiences.” The realization… the patient gown being used was an impactful dissatisfier for patients.

Patient experience and patient satisfaction – These are connected concepts and top of mind for healthcare Leadership.  Take care of the small things, serve with excellence and always strive for flawless execution.

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