Patient experience driven by mission, not just money

With Medicare dollars on the line, hospitals are certainly paying close attention to patient satisfaction, but Jason A. Wolf, executive director of The Beryl Institute, said reimbursement isn't the only the driver of patient experience. "Patient experience is much more than a survey or the resulting dollars it impacts," he wrote in a Hospital Impact blog post this week. "Consumer choice, quality and bottom-line impact collectively come together to reinforce that patient experience is much more than a survey. It is the ultimate outcome in healthcare today." Wolf recommended assessing patient experience through social media, in which hospitals not only make posts about themselves but get patients' thoughts too, and through e-panels of patient and family advisory councils as a forum to solicit input. Perhaps, more importantly, Wolf noted the best way to assess patient satisfaction is through honest, daily interactions with patients.

And the same time, Stephen Wilkins, principal and founder of Health Messaging, said to be cautious of putting too much credence in patient ratings of physician communication skills, he wrote in a separate blog post.