Q. I’m seeing patient hospital stays referred to as “the customer experience.” What do I need to know about patient satisfaction?
A. Hospitals are increasingly focused on improvement of the “customer experience.” With the advent of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is soon to tie reimbursement levels to patient satisfaction scores. In fact, many hospitals now employ Chief Experience Officers (CXOs).
CMS has developed many ways to measure patient satisfaction, and risk management advisors suggest a rock-solid tool is the patient satisfaction survey. ProAssurance insureds may obtain a sample mini-patient satisfaction survey. If you would like a copy, please contact Lisa VanDuyn at (888) 877-2298, extension 5623.
In general, the survey could contain sections regarding the rating of the physical area/office, ease of obtaining care, waiting time, front-office personnel and customer service, a physician’s “bedside manner,” interactions with nurses and physicians assistants, and a patient’s overall satisfaction.
Space on the survey for comments patients may have is useful in measuring satisfaction and designing improvement of the customer experience, especially if the same issue (such as long wait times) appears in the “Other Comments” section of the form.
Advisors also suggest a policy and procedure be in place regarding patient satisfaction surveys. This document could address how frequently surveys are conducted, collection of the survey by staff members, method of return (at check-out, via mail, or via email if an online survey is used), and identity of a person who will tabulate survey results. A process by which the surveys will be delivered to physicians and other stakeholders is a good idea as well.
Patient satisfaction surveys not only can help physicians comply with CMS and the ACA, but they also can go a long way toward improving physician/patient relationships and providing tools to improve the delivery of health care.
Physicians insured by ProAssurance may contact our Risk Resource department
for prompt answers to liability questions by calling (844) 223-9648 or via email.