Read an article and learn how to increase patient satisfaction and provide excellent experience in healthcare with Professor A.F. Alassaf, MD, MPH.
Professor A.F. Alassaf, MD, MPH
Executive Director, Professor Emeritus
American Institute for Healthcare Quality, University of Oklahoma – USA
- Are your patients satisfied?
- Are you interested in increasing your patient satisfaction score?
- Can you use your patient satisfaction scores in marketing your facility?
- Would you like to increase your patient referrals?
- Is your staff happy?
- How would others rate your facility on quality, cost, and safety?
- Do you want to decrease patient complaints?
- Would you be interested in improving your patient outcomes and enhancing your reputation?
- Is your staff competent in communicating with your patients?
- Would you like to avoid malpractice claims?
- Is your facility safety score high?
- Is your safety score attractive to your patients and visitors?
If you answered yes to the above questions or would like to achieve better satisfaction scores and improve the outcomes of your institution, then improving your patients’ experiences will do just that. Patient Experience or PX as defined by the Institute of Medicine is “Care that is respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs & values and ensures that patient values guide all clinical decisions.” PX encompasses not the only patient-centered care but also all ways and means to achieve positive patient care episodes and to make each patient encounter an exceptional one.
If we were to compare the healthcare industry with the manufacturing industry then we would have to ask ourselves: would we accept defective products or poorly sewn clothes? If the answer is no, then we should expect the same for our healthcare industry – zero defects and care processes that are exceptional in design and execution. And, comparing our healthcare industry with the service industry, who would accept a bad meal at a restaurant, mediocre service at a hotel or a rude airline agent? Again, if we use the same reasoning, then we shouldn’t accept the same from healthcare services. Healthcare services should be of high quality delivered with respect and confidence rated at top value, resulting in an excellent experience and provided in an exceptionally safe environment.
To achieve such high and exemplary patient experience, each patient episode of care must meet or even exceed expectations in terms of care quality, cost and value of the services provided. Services must be provided in a safe environment with a keen eye on the safety of care processes and services. Therefore, in a high-patient experience environment, patients’ care and services are of value and should meet patients’ needs and expectations. Of course, PX is not about one patient episode or a certain care visit, it is about each and every visit and care process. Organizations must therefore strive to achieve such a goal for every patient at each care episode. It involves integrated and highly orchestrated care processes. In a PX environment, healthcare services must be related to all those who are involved in the patient encounter, clinical and administrative. Whether it is the doctor, the nurse, the administrator, the admission clerk or even the janitor, all must work towards a positive and “exceptional” PX for every patient who comes in contact with them at that facility.
Therefore, an organization that subscribes to patient experience will be organized as such to acknowledge its core values and to the value a patient would expect for their care. Such organizations will periodically and regularly measure and consistently strive to improve its patient satisfaction scores. Staff is always exposed to ways through which they could make each patient episode an exemplary episode. Whether it is through treating patients with respect, or providing up-to-date and safe care, or through learning the patient’s needs and expectations and working hard to meet them, all activities must be patient oriented and patient centered. Such organizations will employ full-time patient advocates led by a chief PX officer and handle each patient and each of their encounters with the utmost care towards a safe experience that is of high quality, positive in outcome, of fair value and of extreme satisfaction.