Want to Keep Your Patients? Focus on Your Patient Satisfaction Indicators

As the healthcare industry continues its battle to deliver care during the COVID-19 crisis, one would think restricted access to non-COVID treatment would be raising the frustration level of patients. Surprisingly, that hasn’t been the case. According to poll data from The Beryl Institute and Ipsos, despite the fact that fewer patients are visiting their physicians, their view of care quality has risen significantly.

Compared to a similar survey in January 2020, patient satisfaction with overall care in April was up by 13 percent and satisfaction specifically with their own care rose by 7 percent. This apparent disconnect between access and approval highlights the difficulty of measuring and assessing patient satisfaction. Retail businesses have struggled with this problem for years and the commercialization of care delivery and the rise of the patient-consumer has brought the same conundrum into the world of healthcare.

Patient Satisfaction Indicators

The cost to acquire a new patient-consumer can cost five times more than retaining an existing one and creating the necessary level of loyalty so patients stay with you rests largely on how satisfied they are with their overall experience with your organization. So what are the patient satisfaction indicators that can provide insight into your patient’s level of satisfaction?

The Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers (HCAHPS) provides one of the most generally accepted set of patient experience measures. Developed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the HCAHPS surveys patients between two days and six weeks of discharge asking for their feedback. Key areas include:

  • Communication with clinicians
  • Responsiveness of hospital staff
  • Cleanliness and quietness of the hospital environment
  • Pain management
  • Communication about medicines
  • Discharge information

The Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS), a program from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) provides a variety of surveys including ones to measure patient satisfaction with providers and health plans.

Indicators of satisfaction with clinician and physician groups include:

  • Getting timely appointments, care and information
  • Level of communication with patients
  • Provider’s use of information to coordinate patient care
  • Helpfulness, courtesy, and respectfulness of office staff

How to improve patient satisfaction

Improving patient satisfaction requires a concerted effort involving your entire organization. A key driver of satisfying your patients can be accomplished by simply improving the “blocking and tackling” basics of patient interaction. Several ways include:

  • Focus on your front line people – The people that first interact with your patients can set the tone for their entire attitude toward your organization. Bright, cheerful people with a positive outlook can make a critical difference in satisfying your patients.
  • Stay on schedule – Delays beyond a scheduled appointment time is one of the most frequent complaints from patients. See patients on time and you can expect much higher satisfaction scores.
  • Communicate clearly – Helping your patients clearly understand what to expect from your practice can go a long way toward keeping them satisfied. Provide an interactive self-service web site where they can get the information they need at any time. Let them know the process for things like sharing test results, scheduling follow up visits, and reordering prescription.
  • Improve your scheduling systemMake it easy for your patients to schedule appointments and implement a system for confirming and reminding them of the days and times when they should be coming in.
  • Listen and act – Solicit and pay attention to the concerns your patients express. The best way to improve patient satisfaction is to find out what they want and provide it.

Envera Health & Improving Patient Satisfaction

Envera can help get you on the road to greater patient satisfaction by improving communication between you and your patients. We help optimize your operational efficiency to better maximize patient capacity, minimize patient access barriers, and enable steady growth.

Our Patient Access Solution supports practices by assisting in the management of call volume and providing ways to supplement current resources in order to enhance your ability to provide core services to patients. Envera provides a coordinated and consistent experience for any practice needing a more unified “front door” by performing services like scheduling and ancillary call management, such as pharmacy refills, lab results, and general information calls. The resulting workflow changes drive a measurable increase in patient satisfaction per call. The advanced call center services we provide help maximize your operational efficiency and improve access to deliver a superior patient experience.

The healthcare industry has become extremely competitive for providers. Patient-consumers have discovered that they have choices and are taking advantage of that freedom to shop for the care experience that best suits them. To prevent your patients from switching providers, it’s imperative that you focus on ensuring patient satisfaction. Focusing on your front end engagement process can be an important first step.

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