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.
It's always fun to do a year-end retrospective. We took a dive into the stats from our blog, and we're sharing our findings with our readers.
In case you are new to our blog, or missed some of these the first time around, here are the most read articles from the MedicalGPS blog over the past year.
While clinical staff and healthcare providers often believe they are demonstrating compassion and empathy, the truth is research has found otherwise. One study published in JAMA (The Journal of American Medicine Association) found that when discussing life-threatening diagnoses, patients offer many opportunities for empathic response, and doctors respond to only 10% of these emotional needs. Additional research also found that physicians responded to empathic opportunities in 38% of surgical cases and only in 15% to 21% of primary care cases.
Research presented at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) linked patient-perceived physician empathy with improved outcomes and medical care satisfaction. According to the study, sixty-five percent of patient satisfaction was attributed to physician empathy. Many other studies have also recognized the impact empathy has on improving health outcomes and its significance in patient care.
Amidst the transition to value-based care, healthcare organizations across the nation are working diligently toward improving the patient experience. There have been countless webinars, articles, and blogs dedicated to providing the best strategies for optimal results. Yet, what is interesting is that little research exists, relatively speaking, regarding what exactly matters most to patients. Survey data from MedicalGPS suggests that the top three most important factors to patient loyalty relate to the provider and staff interactions with their patients (provider communication, telephone interactions, and support staff interactions).
Patient satisfaction is complex, even so, one truth is straight forward – patients expect their healthcare facility to be clean.
The Importance of Cleanliness
Facility cleanliness should be a top priority for every healthcare facility, and of course, not to the exclusion of physician practices. The very appearance of the facility and whether it reflects an environment of cleanliness has a heavy impact on patient satisfaction. A recent study from the Health Industry Distributors Association revealed that 66 percent of patients valued being able to see a commitment to infection prevention demonstrated through an overall clean environment. When patients observe an abundance of hand sanitizer, notice infection control signage, are offered face masks and other sanitation-related supplies, they begin to see the organization’s commitment to maintaining a safe, clean environment. It goes without saying, (but I’ll say it anyway, just in case), the glass on the font entry-way doors must be polished, sparkling clean, and carpet, floors, restrooms, exam rooms and the like have got to be spotless.
According to a recent survey by ASQ (American Society for Quality), more than 80% of healthcare quality experts say improving communication between patients and healthcare staff is the number one factor in improving patient experience. Medical staff communication is essential for providing quality care, reducing errors, increasing patient satisfaction, and establishing strong patient relationships. Clear, precise, and timely communication is critical to improving health outcomes, decreasing risk, and maximizing overall performance. The following are five best practices that can help improve medical staff communication with patients:
The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act was signed into law on April 16, 2015, and the final rule was just released by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on October 14, 2016. The law repeals the existing Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) Formula or fee-for-service Medicare payment structure and replaces it with new pay-for-performance program based on measures of quality and efficiency. Providers will be rewarded or penalized depending upon their performance.