As emerging hospitals and healthcare centers are budding at every nook of the city, the competition to attract patients for business growth is also budding. In these cases, a significant chunk of resources is spent to improve patient satisfaction and their experience, so they return in case of their next emergency.
What is Patient Satisfaction?
Patient satisfaction is a metric of assessment to assess the contentment experienced by patients as they visit their physicians for treatment. Patient satisfaction is a valuable benchmark to establish the base of the quality of services provided by healthcare establishments. It influences patient retention and other results, as observed by the clinics, and clinics may have to deal with lawsuits claiming clinical malpractice in case of patient dissatisfaction.
Doctors and hospitals measure the success of their operations based on patient satisfaction, whether it is about delivering punctual or effective quality healthcare treatment, thus measuring the overall potency of healthcare treatments.
Here, the perception of patient matters precedes patient satisfaction based on their comprehensive experience. It’s determined in a self-report study and is a part of the customer satisfaction criterion. A single bad experience can create a long-lasting negative impression or dissatisfaction with patients, clearing away all the positives. Improving patient satisfaction has far-reaching consequences in the healthcare sector.
However, it has also been seen that instead of improving on existing problems to bring more patient satisfaction, healthcare professionals try harder to avoid conflicts and keep patients happy to make maximum profits with little effort. An additional example of healthcare professionals attempting to avoid conflict and keep their patients happy is overprescribing drugs and unnecessary hospital admissions. These kinds of dishonesty bring short-term patient satisfaction but can ensure lost terms of patient dissatisfaction.
The healthcare industry employs a variety of parameters and methods to measure the satisfaction of customers and patients. And assessments administered by the individual are considered one of the most popular methods.
Why does Patient Satisfaction Matter?
The metrics of patient satisfaction are the best method to understand the quality of healthcare services received by the patients and also indicate the level of quality currently available and the extent of improvement further required to bring optimum satisfaction to the customers or patients.
Even though patient satisfaction is a subjective opinion on behalf of expectations expected by patients, it directly correlates with the state of healthcare and facilities available to the patients. The surveys conducted across the hospital departments offer insights into their resources’ mindset, expectations, and state. If used properly, these surveys may offer advice and clear expectations to work on to improve patient satisfaction.
Patient satisfaction is related to the clinical care they receive, their experience with the hospital personnel and treatment facilities, their safety, the hospital and its staff members’ efficiency, and the financial health of the hospitals. These factors affect a patient’s experience and are an indicator of progress for these hospitals.
How to Improve Patient Satisfaction?
Several strategies have been highly influential in ensuring patient satisfaction and creating an environment where patients feel safe and have an all-inclusive positive experience. Some of these strategies are mentioned in the following points:
1. By Investing in Improved Medical Billing Process
The medical billing process includes a series of steps to be followed to fill out forms, complete the payment for services rendered during the treatment process, and deal with any reimbursement of the payment. However, due to the combined effect of outdated systems and ever-pending, ever-increasing cases, the billing process suffers and creates additional headaches for the patients, leading to dissatisfaction.
Healthcare facilities can invest in new and improved technology for medical billing systems to ensure seamless completion of the billing process and ease the treatment path for the patients.
2. By Developing Good Accord With the Patients
Patients are often afraid of their problems and are apprehensive about any treatment a doctor may suggest. Good communication skill helps immensely in developing an equally good rapport with the patients. It begins with a friendly and supportive answering system where people can easily make, postpone or cancel their appointments, followed by a convenient waiting area and a few minutes of engaging talk by the physicians with their patients before beginning their medical examination.
These practices in soft skills help develop a sense of trust and rapport regarding confidentiality protection between the doctors, their staff, and the patients. Then patients can be candid about their problems and actively support their treatment.
3. By Focusing on Cleanliness
A clean environment softly screams safety and disease-free surroundings and helps build trust within the patients as they come for their medical examination. Sanitary regulations help plant the seeds of trust in the hospital staff’s competency and the physician’s skills, which helps soothe the nerves of an anxious patient. Furthermore, the patients will be open and trusting toward the hospital staff.
4. By Upgrading Any Outdated Practices
To improve patient experience is to invite better and advanced technology practices in the healthcare system. These improvements can be anywhere from small changes to a complete makeover of the existing technology installed in the hospital. It not only eases the workload experienced by the hospital staff every day but also improves the experience of patients visiting the hospital for their treatment or regular check-up.
A state-of-art technology helps instill trust in the competency of the staff, and patients are aware that they can save a lot of time through the quick and accurate data collection process, faster steps in the medical billing process, and advanced pieces of hospital equipment.
5. By Motivating Learning Experience Among Staff Members
In terms of patient satisfaction, a satisfied hospital staff equates to a more efficient treatment process. A competent staff is essential to increase and manage patient flow and retention, from helping with appointments to locating the doctor’s office and various laboratories for blood tests and helping with the numerous follow-up processes in medical treatment.
According to a questionnaire developed to gauge the motivation variables among working healthcare professionals, salaries, security in their respective jobs, and an exciting and healthy working environment were three of the top reasons noted in their order of preference.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The questions and their answers mentioned under the section of frequently asked questions are some of the topic-specific questions most commonly asked within the scope of a topic. Here, we see these frequently asked questions on the topic of patient satisfaction:
What do you understand about patient satisfaction?
Patient satisfaction is a deciding indicator of patient satisfaction with healthcare treatment. Here, the healthcare treatment is not limited to the purview of a hospital or a clinic and extends much after the end of the observation or critical period.
How do you measure patient satisfaction?
Healthcare and human development industry employs various parameters and methods to measure customer or patient satisfaction. Self-studied assessment is the most preferred and frequently used method to measure patient satisfaction. The other frequently used methods include- exclusive focus group therapy, patient suggestion forum or boxes, patient hotline numbers, and regular informal visits by support staff or other clinical staff members.
How can physicians improve patient satisfaction?
These are five ways in which physicians can improve patient satisfaction:
- Through effective communication between the two
- By involving both the parties in the decision-making
- By prioritizing the hospital staff satisfaction
- By prioritizing the comforts of the patient
- Through practical usage of Value Stream Mapping (VSM)
How can nurses improve patient satisfaction?
These are five ways in which nurses can improve patient satisfaction:
- By effectively communicating with the patients
- Encouraging teamwork and coordination among the fellow staff members
- Through sufficient recruitment of nurses and other staff members
- By providing comfortable pay to the staff members to ensure their needs and satisfaction levels are also met
- By providing timely and periodic training to the staff members
What contributes to patient satisfaction?
Patients feel satisfied through various factors, such as the quality of medical treatment they receive, interpersonal and communication skills of their physicians and other hospital staff members, decreased waiting time, and billing issues.
As the topic began, patient satisfaction was discussed and how it contributes to the advancement of physicians’ practices or the healthcare industry. Then we turned the tables by answering how we can improve patient satisfaction as all the roads lead to adding healthcare benefits and thus improving competition among healthcare services.