Improve patient satisfaction with leadership, frontline support

Despite the push toward patient-centered care, hospital management fails to actively engage physicians and nurses in enhancing patient experience, according to new research, ultimately hurting patient satisfaction scores.

Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston found only 9.2 percent of surveyed clinicians said their organizations have a structured plan to improve patient satisfaction, according to a study in the March issue of British Medical Journal Quality and Safety.

The survey of more than 1,000 clinicians at four academic hospitals in Denmark, Israel, the U.K. and the United States showed inadequate front-line engagement and leadership support for patient-centered care improvement initiatives.

For instance, only 34 percent of physicians and nurses received management feedback about patient satisfaction in their department during the past year. And 85 percent said hospital management needs to take a more active role in patient satisfaction improvement efforts, according to the research announcement.

"Organizations that are successful in fostering a culture of patient-centered care have incorporated it as a strategic investment priority by committed leadership, active measurement, feedback of patient satisfaction and engagement of patients and staff," senior author and BWH Chief Quality Qfficer David Bates, M.D., said yesterday in a statement.

The study reinforces calls for hospital leaders to consistently demonstrate their commitment to providing exceptional patient experiences, setting an example through their actions.

Such sentiments recently were echoed by Jason A. Wolf, executive director of The Beryl Institute and Hospital Impact blogger, who maintained that engagement, focus and commitment of leadership is central to improving the patient experience.

As an example, Wolf cited the case of a chief nursing officer who holds meetings with informal leaders from various units to address organizational priorities and important project ideas, and quickly spread information throughout the hospital, according to a blog post last week.

Similarly, the American Hospital Association Committee on Research last month outlined the benefits of engaging healthcare communities, healthcare organizations and healthcare staff to improve patient satisfaction and quality of care.

For more:
- read the research announcement
- check out the study abstract