Why not Improve Satisfaction Instead of Measuring it?

­One of the uncomfortable things about flying is how close you are to the other passengers.  On my return flight from Florida I could see from his teeth that the passenger in the window seat must have had spinach for lunch.  The most troubling part of my observation was that the passenger was in another plane, and neither of our planes was on the ground.

To back track for a second, I observed something else on my drive to the airport.  We are all familiar with the painted white lines that divide the road lanes.  On some roads, raised reflectors have been inserted into the road’s surface in addition to the painted lines.  At night these road nibs reflect your car’s headlights helping you to stay in your lane.

What’s your point?  If asked the color of these nibs we would response that they are white, just like the white strips.  Those who answered white would be half right.  As I looked in my rearview mirror I caught a glimpse of the backside of the nibs, and for some reason I was surprised to see that unlike the front, the backs of the reflectors were red.  It occurred to me that the reason they are red is to warn you that if you see red you are going the wrong way.

It goes to show you that just when you think you have the answer it may be time to look in your rearview mirror; you may be going the wrong way.

That may be where some, if not most, hospitals are with regard to patient satisfaction.  But, don’t feel you have to take it from me.  According to Amednews.com, “The study by Rozenblum and his colleagues said there seems to be more emphasis among health care organizations on measuring patient satisfaction rather than on improving the patient experience.” March 13, 2013.

This bears repeating…there seems to be more of an emphasis among health care organization on measuring patient satisfaction rather than on improving the patient experience.

Stack all the reports your organization has purchased concerning patient experience data.  Those reports show your hospital’s scores, how your hospital compares to other hospitals, means, averages, standard deviations, and the square root of the hypotenuse.  Now, next to the stack of reports, stack all of the money your hospital has saved by implementing what it has learned from the reports.

I’m sorry, can you speak up?  Oh, you said you have not saved any money.  Well, let’s try another tactic.  Let’s have dinner for every patient that the experience data helped the hospital retain plus all of the new patients referred based on the things learned from the patient experience data.

J’ai mangé seul.  That is French for ‘I ate alone’.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s