Patient Satisfaction

It is difficult for most patients to distinguish between good and mediocre medical care for most services. However, patients are very adept at judging how they are treated as a customer.  When patients are able to choose where to receive their Emergency Medicine (EM) service, their past experience, or the experience their friends and family, is a significant factor in their decision.  HospitalMD believes patients hold physicians to a higher standard than other providers; and therefore, physician behavior carries a heavier weight in the patient’s decision of where to “shop”. So providers must model excellent behavior.

HospitalMD believes good customer service is integral to, and consistent with, revenue growth; not unrelated.

Excellent satisfaction and excellent financial results are not mutually exclusive. Therefore, the choice is not which you choose to achieve; but how to achieve both. HospitalMD believes good customer service is integral to, and consistent with, revenue growth; not unrelated. This is why since its inception HospitalMD has incorporated training our providers in the techniques of behavior that achieve patient satisfaction as an integral part of how we maximize revenue.

A Typical Approach 

Most of us believe we interact well with others and provide good customer service on all occasions. If true, there should be no customer complaints. But this must not be universally true since there are complaints. How then do you know how satisfied your customers are? And how do you know the causes of poor service?

Praise for good satisfaction scores and “you need to do better” for poor scores alone is not likely to achieve preferred behavior. 

Typically, hospitals use a third-party organization to conduct satisfaction surveys. Phone inquiries are often made several weeks after discharge. Results are not available for several more weeks. The patient encounter is the place of origin of behavior whether good or poor. This collective “lag” time between the patient encounter and survey results often makes the causes and remedies more difficult to know. And praise for good satisfaction scores and “you need to do better” for poor scores alone is not likely to achieve preferred behavior. 

At HospitalMD, long-cycle surveys, praise, and “you need to do better” are not good enough! And they are certainly not solutions. Unless a provider is being observed continuously, specific behavior, both good and bad, must be connected to specific, memorable patient encounters in order to understand poor behavior and reinforce good. The quicker one makes the connection between causes and effects in his/her mind, the more effectively and quickly fundamental attitudes and behavior change.

HospitalMD Approach to Patient Satisfaction

So, how does HospitalMD achieve superior patient satisfaction? We implement three separate but interdependent processes that all work together to maximize results. The three processes are: expectation communication, timely data collection, and “feedback”.

Communicating expectations may be the simplest and easiest. But it is certainly the most basic because it sets the stage for the other two. Expectation communication begins early with recruiting.  If good customer service is not something a prospect finds important, they are not a good fit for us. A provider candidate that successfully makes it through our interview process will participate in several days of orientation outside of the clinical hospital setting before working the first shift. Orientation includes, among other things, indoctrination about his/her personal role as a member of the HMD team as the catalyst for financial success and the importance of the contribution of excellent customer service in our client’s financial success.

The time “lag” discussed previously leads to our second process, timely data collection. HospitalMD utilizes an immediate, point-of-service survey that asks 3 to 4 poignant questions that can be answered in less than a minute.  We permit our clients to add questions related to their nursing staff to our form at no additional cost to them.  The surveys are collected and tallied daily, and our physicians receive “feedback” quickly about satisfaction concerns while the provider can still remember the patient encounter. The survey questions can also be quickly revised to immediately test different aspects of physician behavior, thus allowing us to find the root cause of an array of patient satisfaction deficiencies.  Our method generally yields responses of over 80{db12ebc89506b3d8f065ebb889cec133c7ca582ff01e1e4f1acf3a93c8828329} of all patients treated, mitigating any bias of randomness and/or sample size.

Our data collection provides us a diagnostic understanding of customer-specific deficiencies that permit us to provide surgical coaching.

HospitalMD could probably achieve some level of improvement if we implemented only the first two processes. But we would not achieve excellence. Our third process, “feedback”, is the most challenging, and takes a significant commitment of our time. Poor behavior usually follows a pattern and is not episodic. And it is not so general that it can be expressed as “you just didn’t provide good service”. Not everyone is poor in all aspects of their behavior. Therefore, our data collection provides us a diagnostic understanding of customer-specific deficiencies that permit us to provide surgical coaching. The coaching enables us to focus on specific scripting and role playing so the provider “sees” what excellent behavior looks like.

Why do we do it? 

Our clients often express amazement at our ability to change customer service behaviors with physicians.  They also acknowledge the effort it takes and will ask us why do we put that much effort into it?  The answer is simple: it’s the right thing to do and it benefits everyone.  The reality is that every ED group has the same pool of physicians to choose from, and the only way to get better results is through a deeper level of commitment.

We refuse to leave your financial success in the ED to chance!

So if we want to create long lasting relationships with our clients based on successful performance, we need to be committed to working with physicians to achieve superior customer service.  Otherwise, we are no different than other ED groups, and we would be hoping to get lucky by finding only the best customer service skilled physician.  We refuse to leave your financial success in the ED to chance!

We also know that providing exemplary customer service will result in our clients’ ability to maximize their revenue.  High levels of patient satisfaction result in increased ED volumes, increased patient loyalty to the hospital for other services, increased reimbursements, and ultimate survival.

HospitalMD’s commitment to patient satisfaction provides our clients with the ability to maximize their revenue, and provides the patients with the customer service they deserve.

Contact us today to learn more!