When measuring patient satisfaction, healthcare organizations often make two key errors. First, they focus on measuring how often something happens? For example, How frequently did the nurse check on you? How often did they ask about pain? How many times did they clean the room? While these functions are important, the quality of the interaction and care provided are just as important if not more so. Also, some patients want to be checked on continuously and others want to be told how long the wait will be until the next step and only checked on when there may be a delay. So measuring frequency alone limits what you can learn, and it can point an organization down the wrong road in their improvement efforts.
The second error? Focusing too much on employee attitudes. Yes, these attitudes have a huge impact on patient satisfaction, but the best attitude in the world cannot overcome inordinately long waits, redundant paperwork, lack of responsiveness, poor quality food, lack of cleanliness, and unacceptable patient care. Attitudes are but a piece of the patient satisfaction puzzle.
In the article, Dr. Patti Flint Touts Importance of Surveys to Improve Patient Experience, an Arizona plastic surgeon is highlighted because of her improvement in patient care – which she notes as having been driven by the results of patient satisfaction surveys. But what’s interesting about the surveys is that much of the focus was on measuring patient perceptions of key touch points in the care process. According to the article, “Because every interaction from the first phone call to the last follow-up appointment factors into a patient’s overall satisfaction, each point of patient contact is scrutinized for ways to improve the patient experience. Creating a positive atmosphere for her patients involves the entire staff at Patti Flint MD PC, and survey responses lead to constant innovation in practice procedures.”
When asking patients to evaluate their experience, address employee Attitudes, Processes, and the Quality of the Services provided. But don’t just look for overall evaluations. Get the patient and their family to evaluate key contact points through the entire process.
Understand where communications flowed well and didn’t. Learn how hand-offs of the patient and their information from one step to another worked…and didn’t. Identify what needs improvement in the entire service delivery chain…and doesn’t.
To give your patient satisfaction a face lift, first start by understanding all the steps involved in the patient experience through the customer’s eyes.
Listen to our latest podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at http://themesh.tv/stepping-up-service/
Check out our Healthcare Patient Satisfaction Evaluation and Improvement Services at http://cssamerica.com/csshealth.htm