Patient Experience Goes Beyond Medical Care

Posted on January 10, 2013. Filed under: Communication, HCAHPS, Patient Experience, Post By Christy Whipple |

Christy Whipple

“Hospitals will have to venture beyond the traditional realm of merely providing world-class medical care.” 

Although 92% of hospital leaders claim to rate patient experience among their top three priorities, it seems no one quite knows what to do or how to improve it. Patients are less forgiving of poor service than they once were, and their expectations are continually rising because of the continually improving customer service offered by other kinds of service providers. A survey done by HealthLeaders found that 41% of patients indicated they would be willing to switch hospitals for a better patient experience.

Good Intentions
The majority of healthcare systems’ mission statements reflect that improving the health of patients is the primary mission. This being the case, then understanding and improving the patient experience must be an important focus. And it would seem that healthcare leaders would be experts at improving the patient experience. However, often this is not the case.

Beyond Medical Care
Hospitals will have to venture beyond the traditional realm of merely providing world-class medical care. They must approach patients as customers, and design the end-to-end patient experience accordingly. This willmove the focus of a hospital’s capabilities from purely clinical competencies to those that also cover customer management.

Customized Communication
The US Medical Center successfully implemented several innovations that have improved the customer experience, especially in terms of information consistency, access, communications and personalized service.The medical center found thatbased on age groups, patients have different needs and preferences, as well as different attitudes and expectations, when it came to their overall patient experience. The younger patients, for example, preferred to pull information when, where and how they wanted it. Older patients, on the other hand, were more interested in having information pushed to them and readily available. Older patients also preferred printed media vs. digital.

Benefits of Satisfied Patients
More satisfied patients bring numerous benefits for hospitals. Satisfied customers often cost less to serve. They consume resources more efficiently.They are more likely to recommend the hospital to friends. They are more likely to give the hospital high ratings, resulting in higher reimbursement rates.

In a healthcare setting, there is an added benefit to satisfied customers: they are more likely to develop good health habits, such as following wellness regimens. They are more tuned into messaging from healthcare providers and, therefore, more likely to make follow-up appointments, take prescribed drugs and keep up with recommended screenings. In other words, they work with their healthcare providers to prevent illness rather than just seek treatment after illness occurs. This preventive approach can dramatically reduce the costs associated with medical care.

More than Patient Satisfaction
The patient experience is more than just patient satisfaction. It incorporates all aspects of the patient’s interaction with the healthcare system. The patient experience includes patient satisfaction, patient engagement, and the quality of the care. To improve the patient experience, leadership needs to focus and truly make the patient experience a priority.

Introcomm provides custom communications solutions for the admissions and discharge processes. To learn more about how Introcomm can assist your hospital with HCAHPS, patient experience, and improved communations (with little to no additional out of pocket expense), please contact us today to schedule our complimentary educational webinar.

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