Geisinger will refund money to dissatisfied patients

Geisinger Health System will launch a quasi "money back guarantee" for its patients.

Geisinger CEO David Feinberg, M.D., said the hospital system has introduced a new smartphone app called the Geisinger ProvenExperience. The app allows patients to rate the service that has been provided. If they are unhappy, the patients can ask for a refund of up to $2,000, depending on the medical service and the cost.

"You're the judge. If you don't think so, we're going to apologize, we're going to try to fix it for the next guy, and as a small token of appreciation we're going to give you some money back," Feinberg said at the Health Care Symposium at Misericordia University last week, the Times-Leader in Pennsylvania reported. Feinberg did not give any estimates as to what the average refund might be, or how much Geisinger might refund in a typical calendar year.

Hospitals and healthcare systems have been striving to improve the customer experience, but providing partial or full refunds is a rarity. Most customer service initiatives have been along the lines of surveys, patient reviews posted online, and some minor financial dings for hospitals that fare poorly in customer satisfaction surveys. Overall, the concern among hospital leaders about patient satisfaction is on the rise, although in some critical hospital focal points, such as in the emergency room, the physicians are primarily focused on delivering care to the sickest patients first.

Feinberg said that patients are quietly fed up with the poor customer service they receive, often spending an hour drive to and waiting for the doctor, and then spending 15 minutes or less with them. "I don't think people are going to put up with it. I think our industry is going to be disrupted the same way the taxi industry is (by Uber) or the hotel industry (with Airbnb)," he said. 

To learn more:
- read the Times-Leader article