It can be a hospital's worst nightmare when patient satisfaction scores are released. Even if the hospital succeeds in clinical performance and quality measures, it doesn't mean that patients will perceive that as quality care. Regardless, poor patient satisfaction scores needn't be hidden away. For example, two Southwest Florida hospitals that hold some of the worst patient satisfaction scores in the state are addressing the challenge in the following ways:
1. Advertise your scores: It may seem counter-intuitive, but advertising your poor scores will help hold the institution accountable and even mark improvements, reminding all stakeholders about their role in the patient experience. For instance, a highway billboard a mile away from Lehigh Regional Hospital reminds drivers how the hospital treats its patients.
2. Implement customer service training: Implementing hospital-wide customer service training, which addresses questions on the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Health Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) surveys--including cleanliness and communication, and whether patients would recommend the hospital or health system to others--also helps. Lehigh Regional CEO Joanie Jeannette said that organization-wide training changes the culture, which, in turn, improves HCAHPS scores.
3. Improve the emergency department throughput: After examining the poor scores and finding that the patient dissatisfaction stemmed from long ED times and outdated facilities, Hendry Regional Medical Center CEO Lynn Beasley said the hospital now is marketing a new $12 million facility with a new ER, waiting area, and other amenities.
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