Physician engagement is not a new phenomenon; it has been a top concern of healthcare leaders across the nation for years. With changes to reimbursement models and the shift towards value-based care, strong physician relations are imperative to the success of healthcare organizations, even more now than ever before.
Physician burnout has escalated to critically high levels in the US. According to a recent report from Medscape, Critical Care, Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, and Internal Medicine physicians have burnout rates at nearly 55%. Additional research indicates physicians are almost twice as likely as the general public to be unhappy with their work-life balance.
Health promotion and disease prevention are more relevant today than ever before considering some of the key issues affecting the US Healthcare system. According to CMS, national healthcare expenditures rose 5.3 percent in 2014 to $3 trillion, accounting for 17.5 percent of the gross domestic product. The US spent more per person on healthcare expenditures than 12 other leading nations in 2013, while having some of the worst health outcomes and lowest life expectancy rates among this group. Specifically, rates of chronic conditions such as obesity were higher in the US than those abroad. According to the findings, Americans have been paying higher prices for their healthcare but not getting more for their money.
The idea of treating our patients and their families with courtesy and respect is simple and straightforward. After all, parents begin teaching their children to be courteous from the time they can speak, because we understand how important these basics are to human interaction. But, it cannot be overstated how far simple courtesy and a show of true respect can go in creating meaningful connections and a positive patient experience.
When it comes to clinical quality improvement, healthcare IT leaders consider coordinated care to be the greatest strategic challenge, according to a study reported in Becker’s Hospital Review. Care coordination is not really a new problem; it is just that value-based care has placed a greater sense of urgency in solving the coordinated care dilemma. As the healthcare industry focuses on improving the patient experience, successfully coordinating the patient’s journey through every point-of-care, has become an even larger piece of the puzzle.
Today’s healthcare system is complicated, fragmented, and often difficult to navigate. Patients must interact with multiple providers across many specialties, under various organizations with differing processes. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the average Medicare beneficiary sees at least two primary care providers and five specialists, while those with multiple chronic conditions may see up to 16 physicians per year. (1)
Good patient experience not only has a strong correlation to clinical quality, but it is also tied to lower medical practice risks, lower staff turnover, increased patient loyalty, and better patient adherence. According to a report from Deloitte, improving patient experience can help increase financial performance through strengthening customer loyalty, boosting reputation, and growing the utilization of services. The analyses also found that hospitals with better patient-reported experience performed better financially. (2)
Patient non-adherence to medication and prescribed medical treatments is a widespread healthcare problem that negatively impacts outcomes and can lead to serious complications and even death. Lack of adherence progresses disease, decreases quality of life, and increases hospital admissions and healthcare costs.
A study, published in the Journal of Medical Practice Management, found that 96 percent of patient complaints are related to customer service, and not a providers’ clinical skills or quality of care. Another chief complaint is tied to poor interpersonal skills from front-office staff. The bottom line is office staff can make or break a practice. Even when the provider is doing all the right things, if their office staff is rude or disrespectful, patient satisfaction decreases.
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.