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3 Proven Ways to Improve Patient Satisfaction

Acute Care February 18, 2016

We scoured the internet to find what leading health professionals are currently suggesting to improve patient satisfaction, especially HCAHPS scores. In particular, we were looking for any points of common agreement; we found three that stood out and those will be highlighted here as a great resource for anyone looking to make the best possible changes.

1. Treat patients like people

For some time now, practitioners have been taught to be as objective and straight-forward as possible with their patients. This is understandable, especially in regard to patients with a serious illness who deserve to know their condition without any sugar-coating. However, the result of this approach has had some negative consequences. From receptionists who greet you with a clerical question, to doctors who arrive an hour late without apology, patients often get the impression that their medical practitioners don’t really care about them. According to Dr. James Merlino, chief experience officer and associate chief of staff of the Cleveland Clinic health system,

“For patients…this personal connection is important because patients tend to feel that when providers connect with them on a personal level, those providers will make fewer mistakes.”


2. Show care & concern

For those of you specifically interested in improving your facility’s HCAHPS scores, I found an especially relevant article by Micah Solomon, customer experience consultant and Forbes contributor. He refers to a concept called the halo effect and applies it to the act of showing care and concern to patients.

“The halo effect… is the tendency of humans…to cut you slack when they have a generally positive impression of you, how a positive experience with you will spread in their minds (and in their survey responses)…”

Solomon goes on to state,

“If you want to stem patient dissatisfaction, stop giving off cues of indifference and uncaring.”

While his idea may be simple, I think it’s one that’s easy to overlook—and undervalue—in the midst of all the other considerations health providers have to make. If you’re serious about implementing real change in this area, it may be necessary to retrain your staff accordingly.

However, Sentrics has developed solutions to help; their suite of tools provide clear, reliable opportunities that staff can use to express their care for patients. For example, nurses can show patients how to order food from their Sentrics tablet or adjust their room’s temperature through Sentrics’ TV interface. Solutions like these are especially valuable for doctors and nurses who find it difficult to have unique, personable interactions with every patient. Take a detailed look at everything Sentrics’ E3 Patient Engagement Solutions has to offer.

3. Happy employees make happy patients

Employees who understand their roles and the purpose of their institution will naturally gravitate toward excellence; when they find meaning in their work they are happier and more effective. And apparently, patients are taking note. According to contributors at iTriage Health Solutions,

“Studies have shown that patient satisfaction is highest at hospitals with high staff morale and low turnover.”

It may be the case that a particular health provider is best equipped to tackle the problem of patient satisfaction from this vantage point. In fact, if you have already made attempts to retrain your staff and improve their patient interaction—but failed to yield the results you were expecting—it may be your staff itself that needs attention. Make sure your employees are equipped for their positions and maintain a high morale. And don’t overlook the power of recognizing employees – a little recognition goes a long way toward helping employees feel valued and appreciated, and that translates to higher morale.

Toward this end, Sentrics has developed solutions that streamline hospital procedure and improve staff communication; these procedures aim to connect patients with their caregivers like never before and keep both up to date as the patient’s case changes. In a published case study for Sentrics’ work with Phelps Memorial Hospital, their Director of Service Excellence, Phyllis Vonderheide, says her hospital has seen a huge bump in its annual employee survey scores since implementing Sentrics’ Excellence in a Flash program. She notes,

“The fact that Phelps now has a system in place to really understand and work with employees and give them the opportunity to participate has really made a difference in how staff feel about working here at Phelps. Getting the recognition, no matter how small means a lot to any employee.”


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