Communicating and responding to the needs of patients is the foundation of every medical practice. Today, patient feedback not only plays a critical role in provider reimbursement, but also with online reputation, competitive advantage, and patient engagement. As healthcare makes it’s shift from a pay-for-service model to value-based care, the focus on patient feedback has been even stronger than ever. Therefore, it is imperative that practices and healthcare facilities utilize real-time patient feedback as a tool to continuously improve and monitor performance.
With the confirmation hearing of Seema Verma behind us -- President Trump’s pick to lead the Medicare and Medicaid programs -- here are some excerpted quotes from Verma’s testimony that may lend insights into Verma’s health care perspective and where we go from here.
Nobody likes waiting. Whether it is in the line at the grocery store, waiting in traffic, waiting in a restaurant, waiting for elevators, or waiting for a flight, waiting is time.. and time is money. When customers are kept waiting it usually results in frustration. It is also one of the top complaints and reasons customers are unhappy with a business.
Patient wait-times have been an age-old challenge in healthcare, however, the status quo is quickly changing now that patient experience is being linked to reimbursement. Today’s healthcare consumer wants to know that they can get the care they need, when and where they need it. As patient expectations have evolved -- heightened actually -- healthcare delivery has become more focused on providing improved access to care, services, and information.
Effective communication is the foundation of the physician-patient relationship, so much so that it is not an overstatement to say, effective communication skills are essential in the delivery of quality care. In the age of Value Based Care, provider communication is considered an important quality measure and patients are rating their doctor’s communication skills through patient satisfaction surveys. Provider communication skills, and a provider’s ability to demonstrate those skills are being linked to reimbursement, and, are often some of the hardest quality measures to improve upon. Many clinicians have a tendency to overestimate their ability to communicate effectively, which only adds to the complexity of making improvements.
Although there is still a lot of uncertainty around what direction the new administration will lead as it relates to healthcare, experts predict that value-based care is here to stay. While President Trump and other Republicans have promised to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, most agree that quality payment programs under MACRA will endure. This is primarily due to the fact that both the House and Senate had overwhelming support for MACRA. Any delay or changes to MACRA must go through Congress, and due to the strong bipartisan support, this is unlikely.
Shared decision-making has become an instrumental part of the transition to value-based healthcare, as research shows that patients, providers, and healthcare systems can benefit from increased knowledge, improved patient satisfaction, reduced costs, and more accurate risk perceptions.
In today’s healthcare environment it is all too common for patients to arrive at their doctor’s office fortified with research in hand from the internet, television, or friends and family. Often, the validity of this data may be in question, and the sheer amount of information available can cause patients to feel overwhelmed, anxious, and even confused. Some patient’s express frustration because they do not feel like they have adequate understanding or input in the decisions made regarding their healthcare. In situations such as these, shared decision making is hugely beneficial.
Over 30 years ago, before the “patient satisfaction” movement, the doctor-patient relationship looked much different than it does today. During that time, patients found their physicians through “word of mouth” or by searching in the local phone-book. There was not social media, doctor compare websites, or electronic records. Physicians were able to spend time consulting with patients without worrying about the latest government regulations or an enormous amount of administrative paperwork. At that time, the priority was simply treating the patient.
“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” This saying holds true even in the healthcare industry. Research indicates that a first impression is made within 3 seconds of meeting someone. For many patients the first impression of a medical practice is made over the telephone.