Patient satisfaction has come a long way in recent years, and is guaranteed to go even further in the years ahead. The reason it has become such a prevalent focus is due, in large part, to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, also commonly referred to as “Obamacare”) which was signed into law in March of 2010, stipulating a significant expansion and overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system.
PPACA puts more accountability in the hands of healthcare providers by making several incentives and reimbursements tied to their quality of care. Quality of care scores will be determined in part by patient surveys.
Put simply, physicians and hospitals need to increase patient satisfaction like their bottom line depends on it because according to the federal government, it does.
In addition to the mandates, subsidies and tax credits put in place by PPACA, maintaining a healthy patient satisfaction score is just good business.
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, physicians with patient satisfaction ratings in the lowest 20 percent are four times more likely to experience patient turnover than physicians in the top 20 percent.
No matter the size of your practice, hospital or health system, there are always plenty of ways to improve patient satisfaction. These six methods are relatively simple to incorporate and several of which can even be outsourced to a third party organization.
1. Patient Outreach
Patient care doesn’t stop when they leave your door. From visit follow-up calls to disease management and satisfaction calls, reaching out to your patients isn’t just good care, its good business.
2. Nurse Triage Services
Patients don’t like feeling alone or helpless when they have a question or a problem. By providing nurse triage services, you allow them the chance to get their questions answered and advice from qualified professionals.
3. Appointment Reminders
Nobody likes missing an appointment and patients like knowing you care enough to give them friendly reminders. Plus, reminding patients reduces no-shows, which has directly benefits revenue.
4. Patient Education
Educating patients on general preventative health and condition-specific information gives them the when, how and why regarding lifestyle changes and increases the success rate of treatment.
5. Seminars & Classes
Along the same lines of patient education, providing seminars and classes gives you and your staff opportunities to connect with patients and your community while demonstrating how much you value their care.
6. Electronic Patient Check-In
Long lines are never desirable and few people enjoy sitting in waiting rooms. Provide easy electronic and online ways for your patients to schedule appointments or check-in for visits. The easier and less stressful a patient’s experience is, the more satisfied they will be.
Paying close attention and investing in patient satisfaction is a win-win for health care providers and patients. Not only do you position your office or hospital for favorable tax credits and subsidies but quality of care and referrals are increased.