April 8, 2015
“It’s gratifying to see that hospitals and healthcare systems are placing such importance on patient satisfaction. After all, it’s really all about the patient experience and providing the safest care and best service and high quality healthcare.” Blackford Middleton
In a world where patients and consumers can look up healthcare prices and hospital ratings online, the industry faces increased competition and transparency, and must enhance patient experience to stay relevant, according to a recent Forbes piece.
So yes, patient satisfaction is a big deal. It boosts patient attraction and retention, and candidly it reduces the likelihood a patient will file a malpractice lawsuit. It also saves a practice time: Happy patients do not take up physician and staff time complaining. Finally, it is beginning to affect reimbursement. Already for hospitals, and for all physicians accepting Medicare, patient satisfaction scores will determine bonuses and penalties.
So – at a high level – what kinds of things can a hospital or healthcare system do to improve the patient experience?
Reliability. Hospitals must train employees to provide continuous care, pay attention to detail and create consistent positive patient experiences.
Assurance. Doctors and staff should talk openly with patients, provide the big picture issues and discuss specifics, Keller writes. Encourage a two-way conversation and consider hiring health coaches to help patients with concerns.
Tangibles. Give patients instructions for home care after treatment, tips to stay healthy or even glow-caps on prescription bottles to remind them to take their medicine. Patients need to feel like they received thorough care throughout the healthcare continuum.
Empathy. Make patients feel that they are heard and have a say in their treatment by communicating with sensitivity toward their values and aspirations, Keller writes.
Responsiveness. Don’t overpromise immediate results. Manage patients’ expectations while keeping them informed of their care plans.
Healthcare today is a large complex industry, yet the core focus should always remain on the patient. Technology must help, not hinder, the connection between patients and healthcare providers. And this is one reason why we are so passionate about Acuant healthcare solutions. Patients want their medical needs attended to and not be bogged down with administrative processes. By accelerating the registration process in an automated format, the patient experience is enhanced. Through quicker admin processes, staff can focus their attention more on the patient and their needs. Acuant solutions are capable of reading and processing almost all health insurance cards in seconds, thereby reducing work overhead, cutting costs and ultimately, putting the attention back on the patient.