Patient surveys and feedback collection is one of the most resourceful but unfortunately, the least utilized tool in the healthcare industry. Healthcare professional find its difficult to appropriately use patient feedback in improving the patient experience.
Understanding the dilemma of hospital professionals, we planned on writing a short blog on how patient satisfaction can be better understood, evaluated and improved using patient feedback and survey tools.
It is very important to understand beforehand that your job as hospital professional does not end with just collection of patients feedback. The most critical works start post collection in analyzing the results, understanding the service gap, developing and implementing strategies around hospital processes and improving day to day operational efficiency.
How do you define patient experience?
According to AHRQ, (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) patient experience is defined as follows,
Patient experience encompasses the range of interactions that patients have with the health care system, including their care from health plans, and from doctors, nurses, and staff in hospitals, physician practices, and other healthcare facilities. As an integral component of healthcare quality, patient experience includes several aspects of healthcare delivery that patients value highly when they seek and receive care, such as getting timely appointments, easy access to information, and good communication with health care providers.
In short patient experience encompasses all interaction patients have within your hospital which influences his perception about your hospital services. It is correct time to emphasize that patient-provider interaction is highly guided by the healthcare organizational culture.
It is important that healthcare professionals understand the importance of feedback collection and analysis in improving hospital processes. It is high time that healthcare starts creating systems keeping patient's need and want at the centre.
Get the decision maker on board:
The first and foremost step in designing any organizational level changes is to get the top management on board and in sync with the proposed changes. We have to keep in mind that healthcare is not much different than any other industry out there. The decision maker plays an important part in bringing any changes if they like your plan for improvement you have already won the half battle.
It is understandable that bringing the team of decision makers on the same page is a difficult and seemingly impossible task. Every member will have their own predicament and issues but when given a common goal such as hospital brand and reputation it is easy to bring them together.
The best way to achieve the synchrony is to present your business case backed up with thorough research. Your business case should clearly define how good patient experience will help in creating a brand value for the hospital.
It is very important that your plan should be backed with statistics, it can be previously published data or data from your competitors. It can also be data from hospitals of other countries who are using patient surveys and have shown the proven benefit of improved patient experience.
If the industry-specific statistics are not available to back up your case. You can use statistics from other consumer-centric service industry such as tourism and travel industry. Keep in mind that presenting your case effectively is most important to attain your goal.
Few of the questions that you can answer during proposing your business plan are:
How the patients will benefit from the proposed service?
What are the expected benefits for the hospital when implementing patient experience platform?
Don’t forget to explain how word of mouth will benefit the hospital. Of course if possible backed up with numbers.
Design patient experience strategy:
Humans always fall pray of biases and assumptions during decision making which ultimately leads to failure. Hence, it is advisable that you understand what your patients think about your hospital services before designing any policy for patient experience.
To start with conduct a random sample survey with your existing clientele and analyze the collected data to understand service and communication gaps.
This process will help you in understanding what your patients likes and dislikes in your hospitals. You can dive deep to understand the existing gaps in the service provided. Once you get to know where the gaps are it is easier for you to work on improvements.
While designing the patient experience strategy it is important to assign one employee who will take care of the patient experience. The number of designated staff can vary as per your hospitals' policy, it can be one person for the whole hospital or one patient experience expert per department.
Develop a standard operating procedure with clear role and responsibilities for your patient experience personnel. It is important that you don’t overburden him but help in managing his task by providing needed support and guidance.
We understand that it is a time-consuming process but nevertheless, it is one of the most important steps in providing exceptional service in terms of patient experience.
This process will also help you in understanding your services from the patient's point of view and getting to the root cause of the dissatisfaction. This approach not only resolves the current cause of dissatisfaction but also prevent future incidents creating long-term benefit for the hospital.
Implement real-time feedback collection software:
The time of collecting feedback plays a crucial role in improving patients satisfaction rate. If you want to provide exceptional services to your patient we advise using real-time patient feedback with tracking capabilities.
Think about it like this, the sooner you collect the patient complaint the higher the chances to resolve the issue and greater the chances of making your patient happy.
Nowadays technology is performing an integral part in most of the sector and healthcare operations shall not be left behind. The real-time feedback solutions with timed escalation will assist you in understanding your internal hospital processes.
Moreover, the data collected will provide you insight on how your specific department is performing. With the use of real-time feedback not only will you be able to identify the gaps in services but also the scope of improvement. Also, the automated feedback collection system will free up your employees time to attend to issues more productively.
To summarise, work on building the hospital culture keeping patient-centricity at the core of your day to day operations to improve the patient experience.
If you want to know how real-time patient feedback and escalation system can help you in the continuous improvement of operations and processes do contact us here and we will be happy to guide you through.
Interested in optimising patient feedback for your hospital? Contact Healtho5 today forMedEnagage Feedback -Real-time patient feedback solution.
We at Healtho5 are on a mission to solve patient engagement market in India and provide affordable easy to use solutions to the healthcare industry and patients.
Visit Healtho5 or call us @ +91-8047092031
About the Author: Dr Surabhi Bhati is Marketing Manager at Healtho5 Solutions. She has a medical degree with an MBA in Health Information Technology (HIT). She is passionate about healthcare innovation, writing, and online marketing.