Patient satisfaction is important. While it is easy to say that your practice puts its patients first, how easy is it to actually do this?
Take a Good Look at Your Patient Satisfaction Scores
While hospitals have a gold standard of patient satisfaction tests, the HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) survey, smaller practices and those not affiliated with a large health center can also benefit from the data these tests reveal. While some may opt to create their own templates, there are a number available from The Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
Before you break down the information, you can use your overall scores to compare yourself to other practices of your size and scope. How do your scores compare to other mid-size practices in your state? Once you identify what categories your scores are weakest in you can begin creating a game plan for improving the numbers.
Most practices will have to hire outside help to dive into their data with hardcore analytics. This investment can pay off when the researchers are able to determine how your patients really feel and uncover their true concerns.
Use Patient Comments
Once a problem area has been identified, you will need to know where to find more information. Simply asking your office staff what they think the problem is will get you vastly different results than if you asked your patients. Looking at already available patient comments as well as inviting new ones (such as through the use of a focus group) can help shed light on the real cause of the problem.
An example of this would be an issue in the waiting room. While the front desk staff would be quick to identify long wait times as the cause of low patient satisfaction scores, patients would tell a different story. These low scores could be caused by lack of displays of concern or caring from non-medical staff members they interacted with in the waiting room. Knowing this can help focus your corrective action plan. Instead of hiring more staff to cut down wait times, simply retraining the front office staff to be more courteous and welcoming to patients might be all that was needed.
Figuring out what is really important to patients is key to improving the patient experience. This can only be done by involving the patients in this process.