What is patient satisfaction? If you want patients to take part in their health, you need to provide an environment that makes them feel comfortable. They need to feel heard, understood, and empowered. A positive patient experience is important because there are alternatives for patients—now more than ever.
If you aren’t focused on patient satisfaction, you won’t retain as many visitors. And if they can afford options, they might go to the competition. Or they may begin to lose faith in the system altogether and not seek the help they need.
While it can sometimes feel like health care workers aren’t focusing on the patient experience, the truth is that they often are. Individuals on care teams likely got into health care to help improve positive outcomes for patients, so it’s not for a lack of caring—it’s that affecting change can be quite challenging.
Continue reading to learn how to bring incremental yet powerful change for your health care organization, thereby transforming the lives of your employees and patients for the better.
Why bringing about real change is difficult
Most health care organizations get the patient experience wrong. While they may always have patient satisfaction in mind, data is often collected, and then nothing is done with it. Health care professionals are likely rushing around trying to complete all their other daily responsibilities and feel they have little time for anything else.
As a director, you face a great deal of pressure to achieve both clinical and financial results. This leads to a focus on efficiency and financial performance. According to Bridget Duffy, MD, this, unfortunately, tends to take place at the expense of the patient experience.
Care can feel impersonal—even in the way the doctors ask their questions. Patient satisfaction shouldn’t feel like a mere clinical assessment. While the care team needs to assess people in order to figure out what is wrong with them in a health sense, they also need to actively remember that each patient has their own personality and set of fears or concerns, needs, and nuances.
Patients need your time and undivided attention. They want to feel that their health care provider is really listening and ideally, empathizing. We’re talking about compassionate care and restoring the human connection to health care. The core of your efforts should be centered around partnering with patients and families. If it’s not, it’s time for a shift.
The fact is, however, that change management simply isn’t a core competency of health care organizations. A patient could feel that they have an amazing doctor but that, at the same time, the support staff is lacking—or vice versa. Patient satisfaction should be considered in all areas of the practice, from top to bottom.
So how are you supposed to keep up with the patient experience when there are so many moving parts and different factors to consider? How can you possibly keep everyone happy simultaneously? We have some ideas.
So, read on to see how the right tips and technological aids can help make your life easier and get better results for your facility or network of facilities.
How to increase patient satisfaction at your facility
To take patient satisfaction to another level, be prepared to ask the right questions. First, ask yourself whether you are motivated by having a positive impact on the people you serve and if you are passionate about making health care work better for everyone. We assume the answer is yes, and if so, this will not be as hard as you may think.
Next, you want to find a way to survey patients. This is so you can do some all-important measuring and determine how to move forward. If you don’t have a baseline, you won’t know where you are starting from and won’t have a clear map of the best way to improve. Health systems are beginning to understand just how critical this component is and now hiring positions like Chief Patient Experience Officers so that there is someone dedicated to this very feat.
It’s important to realize you won’t be able to address absolutely everything. Thus, you want to know what to prioritize and where to focus. Focus your efforts and the efforts of your staff around the top three things that are preventing a great patient experience. From there, take small steps forward—they add up, and trying to do too much all at once may not be as successful. Surveying patients and pushing for transparency on both sides will help you and your health care workers identify trends so you can plan your solutions strategically and not aimlessly.
Once you understand the changes you need to make—which may be unique to your organization—and you’re ready to make these improvements to the patient experience, measure them again and again for proper analysis. Things change and staying updated is key. Follow the lead of technology organizations and do detailed retrospectives. See where you scored lowest and start there. Turn all interactions into a mutually beneficial relationship with your patient partners, so to speak.
There are tools that will help you achieve this through better patient management and engagement, such as our very own patient relationship management tool, which has been proven to increase patient satisfaction by 16%.
Strive to make the patient experience part of your organization’s culture. Make it a culture of commitment to continuous improvement. Adopt the sharing of data and results as a best practice, both internally and with the recipients of care. With Welkin’s tool, in particular, you can effectively keep your team and program on track, with ease.
When it comes to patient satisfaction, make your organization stand above the rest
Health care professionals may not initially think they have the capacity to focus on this, regardless of how important it is—but we know that’s just because they don’t know a more efficient way.
With automated workflows and other incredible features that top applications like Welkin Health offer, your teams and patients can be guided through each scenario within your program and make adjustments accordingly as things evolve. Streamlining your processes will make things run more smoothly and make you appear more organized and detail-oriented to patients. Fewer things will slip under the radar, and you will be less likely to lose patient trust, as they will see that you care about them as real individuals.
If you want your organization to be seen as innovative, live up to its potential, and steadily bring in new patients while keeping current ones, it’s essential to keep them as happy as possible. You can find out more about how to do just that by getting in touch with Welkin—our patient management tool provides the right technology to enact change. With the proper tool, you can easily harness the power to take both physician and patient satisfaction to new heights at your facility.