When you are running a hospital, clinic, or any healthcare service that provides treatment to patients, it is crucial to provide a satisfying experience to your patients with your treatment and healthcare services. Nowadays, patients do not get satisfied merely through good treatment. They also consider the facilities you provide them and how you make them feel.
So to ensure Patient Satisfaction and to get good Patient Satisfaction scores, you make sure that along with the treatment, patients are also happy with the services you provide them. At the same, it is necessary to treat them with respect, answer all the questions they have in mind, and make them feel comfortable.
Gone are the days when patients didn’t know anything about healthcare and trusted blindly what their doctors used to advise. Now, more people are aware of medical terms; although they have a little knowledge extracted from the internet, they expect you to answer all the questions they have in their minds.
Healthcare service providers are now investing their time and resources in making sure that they attain the highest Patient Satisfaction Score. Comprehensive medical practice marketing focuses on improving patient retention, brand loyalty, and excellent online presence while allowing doctors to practice their profession and focus on treating patients. Patient satisfaction thus gives an insight into patients’ experiences from inside to outside of the clinic.
This article will explore what Patient Satisfaction and Patient Satisfaction Score is, how it is essential in healthcare, and how you can measure Patient Satisfaction in the healthcare industry. Let’s explore first what patient Satisfaction Score is.
What is a Patient Satisfaction Score?
Patient Satisfaction is the extent to which your patients are happy with the treatment, services, and comfort level provided to them at a hospital or clinic. But how will you know that your patients are satisfied with the experience you provided them? The way out is to ask them through Patient Satisfaction Surveys.
Patient Satisfaction Surveys are used to collect Patient Feedback to know their feelings and perceptions about you and your hospital or clinic and the treatment and services you provide them. In a Patient Satisfaction Survey, patients are asked to rate their experience, usually on a scale of 1 to 5. One means the most dissatisfying experience, and five means the most satisfying experience for the patients.
Patient Satisfaction Score is the rating your patients give to your healthcare services in a Patient Satisfaction survey. It is an accurate indicator of how your patients feel about the healthcare services you provide and whether they would like to revisit your hospital or clinic if they need medical treatment.
A Patient Satisfaction Score can be in a Patient Satisfaction Survey, a review website, or a government-approved survey like HCAHPS. Le’s explore what is HCAHPS.
Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) Survey is the first standardized national survey of hospital patients introduced in 2002, developed by the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) and the Agency of healthcare research and Quality (AHRQ). The survey was implemented first in 2006, and the reports were issued in March 2008.
Randomly selected adult hospital in patients are surveyed within 48 hours to 6 weeks after discharge, and they asked about 21 perspectives of care. The nine key topics covered in this survey are:
- Communication with Physicians
- Communication with Nursing Staff
- Pain Management
- Cleanliness of Hospital Environment
- The Quietness of the Environment
- Transitions of Care
- Discharge Information
- Responsiveness of Staff
- Communication about Medicines
HCAHPS surveys have created more pressure on hospitals and increased the need to ensure a good Patient Experience and enhance Patient Satisfaction. Let’s learn more about both of these terms.
Patient Satisfaction vs. Patient Experience
Patient Experience and Patient Satisfaction are often used interchangeably but are two different terms. However, we can say that both are somewhat dependent on eachother.
In the words of the Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality,
“To access Patient Experience, one must find out from patients whether something that should happen in a health care setting(such as clear communication with a provider) actually happened or how often it happened.”
Satisfaction, on the other hand, is about whether a patient’s expectations about a health encounter were met. Two people who receive the exact same care is supposed to be delivered, can give different satisfaction ratings because of their expectations”.
Patient Experience is the total of all the interactions, care, and treatment that the patients undergo. Whereas, it depends on the patients’ perspectives whether and how much they are satisfied with that experience.
However, these both are interdependent. If you are able to provide a good Patient Experience, Patient Satisfaction levels will automatically increase. If the patients are fully satisfied, they will consider the experience an excellent Patient Experience.
Why Patient Satisfaction is Important in Healthcare?
Patient Satisfaction is critical in the healthcare industry. Let’s explore some benefits of Patient Satisfaction to understand this better.
Benefits of Patient Satisfaction
- Drives Patient Loyalty
- Improves Patient Retention
- Attracts new Patients
- More Financial Success
- Better Treatment
- Boosts Staff Morale
Let’s learn more about how these benefits make it vital for you to ensure Patient Satisfaction.
1. Improves Patient Retention
When patients feel that they are provided with good care, treatment, service, and healthcare facilities at your hospital or health care center, they will reapproach you whenever they need any medical advice or treatment. Whereas, if the patients do not feel satisfied, they even don’t want to continue an ongoing treatment from a particular healthcare center and search for other options that seem better.
2. Drives Patient Loyalty
Patient Satisfaction is a strong determinant of loyalty. Once you are able to develop a bond of trust with the patients, they become loyal. Loyal patients not only revisit your place in case of illness, but they also bring the members of their families and extended families. Not only this, loyal patients spread good word of mouth about your hospital and recommend their friends and relatives to visit your hospital or clinic in case of illness.
3. Attracts new Patients
Satisfied Patients’ word of mouth is very effective in attracting new patients. When patients share their positive healthcare experience with their friends and known ones, they also prefer to choose your place to consult in case of any medical problem. In this way, the number of loyal and satisfied patients increases.
4. More Financial Success
Once you are able to develop a bond with your patients, and they start trusting your medical advice and treatment, they hesitate to approach any other doctor. They will even be willing to spend more money on your services than trying any new clinic. Moreover, the increase in the number of loyal and satisfied patients will boost the growth of your business and take towards higher financial success.
5. Better Treatment
When patients get a satisfying environment, are happy with the facilities and services provided, and trust the treatment given, it makes their mindset positive. It is a proven fact that a positive mindset and good feelings internally affect their health in a very positive way, and they recover faster than usual.
6. Boosts Staff Morale
When your patients get satisfied with your healthcare services, they praise you and your staff and give positive ratings and reviews in healthcare surveys. This also boosts the morale of your medical team, and they feel highly motivated to work more effectively and serve the patients wholeheartedly, which again develops a very healthy environment in your hospital and clinic. This is beneficial for both you and your patients.
We can say that Patient Satisfaction is a win-win situation for both the healthcare providers and the patients. Therefore, you must focus on measuring and enhancing Patient Satisfaction. Let’s learn how you can measure Patient Satisfaction.
How do you Measure Patient Satisfaction in Healthcare?
Measuring patient Satisfaction can seem to be a somewhat complicated task, but you can use various ways to simplify it. Here are some effective ways to measure Patient Satisfaction:
- Collecting Patient Feedback
- Outpatient Surveys
- Inpatient Surveys
- Social Media
- Online Reviews
Let’s learn more about these ways and how you can measure Patient Satisfaction with them.
1. Collecting Patient Feedback
It is essential to build an effective Patient Feedback System for measuring Patient Satisfaction. With an effective Patient Feedback System, you can collect Patient Feedback at various touchpoints of your hospital or health care center. You can collect feedback about multiple aspects like the waiting time, billing experience, consultation with the doctors, buying of medicines, cafeteria, cleanliness, staff behavior, and more. For this, you can use feedback kiosks in areas like reception, waiting areas, and the cafeteria. Collecting feedback will let you know insights of your patients and how much satisfied they are with the treatment and services provided.
2. Outpatient Surveys
Outpatients are those who visit your hospital or clinic for medical consultation but do not get admitted or stay at your hospital. Conduct outpatient Surveys to ask for feedback about their visit, waiting time, availability of medicines, and experience with the doctor.
Researches suggest that 30% of patients walk out of a clinic due to long waiting hours, even when they have taken an appointment. Collecting feedback from outpatients will help you know such experiences and eliminate them.
3. Inpatient Surveys
Inpatients are those who are admitted to your hospital for some days and gain experience with your medical staff, facilities, and many other aspects. Conducting Inpatient Surveys to collect feedback from these patients can be very helpful as these patients have in-depth experience of being treated at your hospital. You can conduct inpatient surveys when the patients are admitted and undergoing treatment or some days after discharge.
4. Social Media
Social Media has become a very active and influential mode of information since the last decade. People nowadays share their experiences on social media, and their feedback spreads like wildfire. Create your official websites, portals, and social media pages to provide a platform for your patients to give feedback and share their experience.
5. Online Reviews
You can also refer to online reviews on websites like Yelp, CareDash, and others. This will help you know about your patients’ satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Their reviews will let you know what’s spreading about you and your healthcare center in the market, and this will give you an idea as to what improvements you need to make.
Patient Satisfaction Score is the indicator of the performance of your hospital or healthcare center. Today’s patients possess a high level of awareness and expect high-quality care and the best facilities. Therefore, it is crucial to collect patient feedback, measure Patient Satisfaction, and improve it to the best possible extent.
Author: Kaumudi Tiwari
Bio: Experienced Content Writer and Digital Strategist, been in the IT Industry for the last 5+ Years. Associated with the Zonka Feedback. Passionate about writing customer experience, customer satisfaction, customer feedback, and net promoter score.
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