Understanding Patient Satisfaction: Why it is Important

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One of the most commonly used methods to evaluate the performance and/or quality of service of a healthcare institution is Patient Satisfaction. Simply put, it is the power granted to patients to rate the quality of healthcare they received in a healthcare establishment based on various criteria. As this rating allows federal agencies to measure the general satisfaction level of patients that have received treatment or consultation from your hospital, it is a critical aspect of healthcare that must be maintained to a high standard at all costs.

 
The survey, named HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) is a mandatory survey, required by the CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) for all healthcare establishments in the United States. Questions asked in this survey range from the communication quality of doctors and staff to food quality provided to the patient.
Its importance stems from the fact that this survey offers an insight into the experience of patients with regards to the service they received at a hospital. Moreover, these results are published on the internet for the public, hence, bad scores will severely cripple the reputation of any healthcare institution. Furthermore, one of the most important reasons of Patient Satisfaction being one of the top concerns of any hospital is the fact that the federal government disburses funds to institutions based on their HCAHPS score, which is a rating ranging from 1-10.
There are 3 factors that affect this score, doctors, patients and the establishment itself:

 
First, Doctors are a crucial element of the patient experience, as the majority of their satisfaction is affected by the results of their treatments. Studies have shown that patients who received quick and efficient treatments to their issues, were happy with the hospital as a whole. Hence, doctors that focus on understanding and diagnosing a patient’s problem proficiently, increase the satisfactions of inpatients by a large margin.

 
Secondly, understanding what a patient expects from a hospital can go a long way in understanding and improving your Patient Satisfaction or HCAHPS score. Generally, patients appreciate – constant communication, courtesy, state-of-the-art facilities and cordiality.

 
Lastly, the establishment itself plays a role in affecting Patient Satisfaction. It is not unheard of, for a hospital with the best facilities, doctors and staff to have a low Patient Satisfaction score; it is a result of the fact that hospital policies and rules also affect the overall experience of your patients. Hospitals that are known to shunt patients from department to department, floor to floor, in order to complete simple tasks, will inevitably score low in these ratings.

 
Understanding how this rating works will help you identify the problem areas that need attention. Improving and fine-tuning these factors require extensive management and training, however, this effort will be well-rewarded with a significantly higher Patient Satisfaction rating that will boost your reputation, thereby increasing patient influx to your establishment. Additionally, it will help in securing higher disbursements from the federal government, which will strengthen the hospital’s financial situation further by a significant margin.

 

About the Author:

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     Kristen Brady

Kristen Brady is the founder and owner of Kaboom Social Media, your social media marketing and content specialists! Follow her on Twitter: @kb54927

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