Patient Satisfaction: A Normal Experience Will Never Be Amazing

Are Hospital Executives Ignoring Their Own Survey Results?

I was reading the survey results of ache.org’s 2012 “Top Issues Confronting Hospitals: 2012”. Two things jumped out at me. Improving Patient Satisfaction was in essentially a statistical tie with two other issues for third place.

Second, Decreasing Inpatient Volume was essentially in a statistical tie for third place for financial challenges that need to be addressed.

Ache.org only reported the results. It did not draw any conclusions. It seems there is little point in surveying people unless someone acts upon the results–I may have made the same point before regarding HCAHPs.

That said, I will offer a conclusion, one that can be derived without studying the numbers.  I bet there is close to a one-to-one relationship between Patient Satisfaction and the decrease of inpatient volumes.  Fix one, fix the other.

I like that the survey labeled the issue of patient ‘satisfaction’ instead of CMS’ patient ‘experience’.  Every patient, and every prospective patient has an experience with the hospital. However, not every experience is satisfactory, and normal experiences will never be amazing.

Why not have your goal be “A remarkable experience for every patient every time and on every device? If that doesn’t work you can always erect another billboard.

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