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 hospital services, 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 as an integral part of how we maximize revenue. Through our Hybrid service, we incorporate the patient satisfaction strategies utilized in our Hospital Medicine (HM) service with the strategies and surveys used in our Emergency Medicine (EM) service. Although many rural hospitals are not subject to the Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) or the Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) that utilizes HCAHP scores, an attention to patient satisfaction is still given the same commitment by HospitalMD.

HospitalMD Approach to Patient Satisfaction 

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. So, how does HospitalMD achieve superior patient satisfaction? The simple answer is through communication. The more complex answer is 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, video demonstrations of expected interactions between the physician and patient, indoctrination about his/her personal role as a member of the HospitalMD team as the catalyst for financial success and the importance of the contribution of excellent customer service in our client’s financial success. In addition to the videos, each physician works alongside the Medical Director during their orientation and will round on patients together. The Medical Director is able to demonstrate in person what the expectations of interacting with the patients are, and then allow the physician to participate in the process. This side by side demonstration allows the Medical Director to use this time as a baseline for all future training with the physician. At a minimum, HospitalMD works with and evaluates each physician during their shift. This allows us to work with our physician directly in a number of different areas, including patient interaction techniques. This consistent focus reinforces the importance of our commitment to patient satisfaction with our physicians, resulting in physicians dedicated to increasing patient experiences through interpersonal skills in addition to their outstanding clinical care. Our second process is timely data collection. HospitalMD utilizes an immediate, point-of-service survey in the ED 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% 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.

Hospital and Medical Staff Communication 

HospitalMD implements daily mandatory patient care meetings with appropriate hospital staff.
Communication may start with the patient, but it certainly does not end there. The reality is nurses will spend more time with the patient than the physician will. Because of this, HospitalMD implements daily mandatory patient care meetings with appropriate hospital staff. This includes nurses, clinical dietitians, utilization management, pharmacy, and other interdisciplinary members when available. These meetings allow the entire care team to be able to share vital information and allow each member of the team to be involved in and know the plan of care. This allows the communication from any member of the team to be consistent, resulting in less confusion by the patient while receiving information from multiple sources. Communication with the local Medical staff is extremely important to our approach to improving patient satisfaction. The results of this communication generally aren’t felt immediately, but the value is felt in the long run. That is why we have created a systematic approach to both admission and discharge communication with the local Medical staff. We also invite the Medical staff to join in on our monthly meetings with our physicians to discuss opportunities for improvement, or just to sit in and hear what is being offered. The attendance of any of the Medical staff at these meetings helps us earn their trust, which they communicate with their patients. This allows us to truly be an extension of their practice, resulting in happier patients!

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 physician 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 to chance!
So if we want to create long lasting relationships with our clients based on successful performance that maximizes revenue, we need to be committed to working with physicians to achieve superior customer service. Otherwise, we are no different than other physician 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 to chance! 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!