WHY SHOULD WE REALLY CARE WHAT PATIENTS THINK?
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There is a lot of talk in healthcare today about ‘quality care’ and what really comprises a quality ‘patient experience.’ Call it ‘patient experience’ or ‘patient satisfaction,’ the end result is the same. Patients need to feel good about your practice – and we’re not talking just about their doctor – but the receptionist, the nurse, the billing department, the scheduling department, every touch point a patient has with your practice.
It’s really quite simple, if they are not satisfied, they move on to another practice. And they likely share their displeasure with others.
Don’t take our word for it. Look at the research. “Patients are three times more likely to leave a practice where they report poor quality relationships with their physician.” (Journal of Family Practice)
After all, patients are consumers. Now that patients shoulder more than 40% of their patient-owed balances, and the figure continues to grow in our new era of high-deductible health plans, patients are shopping around for the most affordable care and best experience they can get.
So practices really need to know where they stand with patients. Not only for profitability reasons -- (pay-for-performance), pending regulations (Meaningful Use), to reduce risk (malpractice suits), and a variety of others, but maybe, just maybe, because we know it’s the right thing to do.
At the end of the day your top priority is a healthy patient. After all isn’t that what healthcare is really about? Why do we work in healthcare if we don’t care about offering the best patient health outcomes possible? Really, if there is any other reason, we should move on.
So you shouldn’t gain patient feedback just because you HAVE to or MIGHT have to in the future, or for the almighty buck, but because you really care about offering your patients the best possible patient experience.
Research points to improved health outcomes where there is strong patient-provider relationships.
POS conducted research to learn what practices thought of the patient experience. More than 70% of practices say improving the patient experience is one of their top priorities. More than 90% of respondents indicate patient communication is a big factor in the patient experience. But practices indicate they lack time, expertise and ideas to improve patient communication.
78% of practices say they are very interested in learning patient opinions, yet many have no formal method of gaining patient feedback. And why are they interested? One of the top reasons – ‘Because it’s the right thing to do.’
So don’t collect patient feedback just because you think someone is going to make you collect it. Survey patients because you want healthier patients, more patients, new patients, happier patients.After all, happier patients are healthier patients.
And survey with a purpose. Use the information to improve your office wait times, the registration process, your billing process and the care that happens behind closed doors.
POS Professional Office Services works with healthcare practices nationwide to improve provider and patient communications. POS Surveys™ is our newest survey platform that helps practices collect, compile and analyze patient feedback.