How Health Systems Can Adapt Their Practices to Optimize Patient Satisfaction
To say that the healthcare industry has seen some big changes over the last few years is a huge understatement. The focal shift from patient acquisition to patient engagement and satisfaction have been driven by the staged implementation of healthcare standards mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The government is putting money where its mouth is when it comes to quality of care. Reimbursements are tied directly to quality of care over the quantity of patients, and it’s not a stretch to think that private payers could soon adopt many of the same reimbursement policies. Simply put, hospital systems must adapt their practices to optimize patient satisfaction and the experience that patients have while in their care.
I talk to a lot of healthcare clients and prospects about integrating patient experience and satisfaction into their digital experience. And in light of the changes and potential risk of doing business in healthcare, these two facets go hand-in-hand. The better a healthcare system’s digital presence represents the experience that patients can expect, the more likely that experience will be positive and patients will leave a satisfied customer.
One example of an organization taking patient satisfaction to the next level is North Shore LIJ. The New York based healthcare organization recently began publishing consumer reviews of their own doctors on the physician profile pages of their site. The reviews are sourced by Press Ganey, a certified U.S. CMS vendor, which score the overall satisfaction of patients who have been treated by that doctor. That is extremely bold, risky and refreshing! Consumers buy everything online based on reviews, so why not ‘shop’ for medical services with the same tools?
The reviews are visible for any doctor who has received reviews.
The comments provided by patients are also listed on the physician’s profile page.
This decision to include reviews makes this a major WIN for patients because:
- It provides a clear method of measuring a physician, which helps future patients select a physician based on patient experience.
- It creates an environment of accountability for the physicians and their staff. If a physician knows that each interaction could end up as a positive or negative review on their own profile, the entire staff from reception to discharge will treat each case with the same level of care and dignity that patients seek.
- It also creates an environment of accountability for the hospital. Ultimately, hospitals are the revenue centers that feel the pinch when reimbursements are cut short by penalties assessed for poor quality. By posting these reviews, hospitals are gaining valuable operational insights that can help improve satisfaction at every level.
Kudos to North Shore LIJ for taking a huge step that creates vulnerability for the organization, but in the long run, will provide an environment that positively contributes to the satisfaction of their patients.