A couple months back we took a look at how important patient satisfaction is becoming in healthcare. Payments are transferring to a model that evaluates outcomes and requires that the patient is satisfied with their care in order to receive the full amount billed for the services rendered.
One potential problem for providers however, is trying to hit a satisfaction target that varies from patient to patient. Two patients could receive identical treatment for identical issues from the same practitioner and those two people may rate their experiences completely differently.
The challenge is that patients bring their own situational implications with them. Each patient has a different history with a variety of providers, and those experiences shape the expectations of the patient. If there’s one thing that is certain about satisfaction, it is that it’s implicitly tied to expectation. If a visit to the ER, Urgent Care, or even a well check don’t measure up to the bar that the patient has already set in their head prior to their visit, you will inevitably end up with a dissatisfied patient.
Given all this, it may seem impossible to even institute a program that would address the varying levels of patient expectations that healthcare providers will encounter. However, there is in fact a way to start the process.
The best way to assure that you are meeting a patient’s expectations is to be involved in setting them in the first place.
A healthcare provider that sets up a system where there is proactive communication and education with the patient on their condition, the steps being taken to treat the condition, and the range of outcomes that the patient can expect, allows the provider to set expectations for the upcoming stages of their healthcare journey.
“Gone — in many ways thankfully — are the days of the paternalist model of medicine where “doctor knows best” is the tagline. Today, patients are increasingly empowered to take part in their own healthcare journeys through access to online information. But they can only do that effectively when their decisions are guided by advanced educational sources.”
Given that many online resources provide incorrect information to patients, some estimates say well under 50% of medical websites provide correct treatment recommendations, there is a unique opportunity for providers to invest in and curate their own patient education resources. These resources can be leveraged online before upcoming visits, during examinations or consultations on screens in the examination rooms, and even made available during extended hospitalization through the flat panels in the patient rooms. Education empowers patients to become active participants in their healthcare decisions, and people who make educated choices typically take more shared personal responsibility for the outcome, meaning they may be less likely to place all the blame on the practitioner if the preferred outcome is not immediately achieved.
At the end of the day, patient education systems can go a long way to set proper expectations and empower patients to make better, informed choices about their care, improving patient satisfaction. As an added benefit, these same systems also help educate patients on aftercare instructions and future preventative measures to take to avoid recurrence of the condition or readmission to the hospital, which can also be costly to providers and detrimental to long term patient satisfaction and loyalty.
Treating patients like partners, opening up lines of communication and education, and aligning the provider’s and patient’s preferred outcomes are all necessary to be successful in today’s healthcare environment.
Avidex AV is revolutionizing the way healthcare facilities and doctors are delivering care. Their 20 years of experience is being leveraged to drive down the cost of care while promoting positive healthcare outcomes. Is your organization looking for a new kind of technology partner? Connect with one of our Account Executives today to learn more.
About Carey Cox
Carey Cox has spent his 17 year career in various roles within the health care industry including sales, consulting, and operations management. Carey has been involved in a number of capital system sales roles including life safety, infant security, audio-visual, and clinical education. He had operational oversight of two Baylor pain management centers and served on various committees for Baylor Health Care System in Dallas. His internal knowledge of health care operations, his leadership experience and his ability to build and strengthen relationships give him a unique insight into clinical workflow and process throughput. Carey holds a Master’s Degree in Health Care Administration and also volunteers in a mentoring program for young adults entering into the workforce. During his tenure at TeleHealth Services, he has been instrumental in expanding the TeleHealth footprint in Dallas-Ft Worth (Methodist Health System) and Houston (CHI St. Luke’s Health and Memorial Hermann) health care markets.