improving patient experience

Improving the patient experience: taking patient opinion seriously

by Eric Rivedal

Personal experience is the top reason for selecting a physician or hospital.

These types of positions are increasing in healthcare, and are evidence that the value of patient opinion and, by extension, patient experience, is growing.

There are several good reasons for hospitals to consider the patient point of view and begin taking steps to improve the patient experience. In fact, a study titled Customer experience in healthcare: the moment of truth1 by the Health Research Institute of PwC U.S. found that:

  • Personal experience is the top reason for selecting a physician or hospital.
  • Customer service — translated to patient experience — is 2.5 times more important in healthcare than in other industries.
  • Patients are less forgiving of a negative experience in healthcare than in other industries.

Considering these findings, it’s important for hospitals to take the impressions of their patients into account. And if your hospital is like most, there’s always room for improvement, starting with your hospital’s paper capture capabilities, technology infrastructure, data reporting and analytics, staff training and workflows. All of these areas can have a significant impact on patient experience — perhaps more than you may realize.

Fortunately, there are several strategies you can put into place to improve information flow within your organization, and in turn, provide a better patient experience. A few of these strategies include:

  • Carefully reviewing and analyzing how unstructured data capture affects workflows and patient care.
  • Assessing the needs of your organization and your patients to determine and prioritize which technology is needed to minimize communication gaps.
  • Providing consistent training for technology by people who understand healthcare processes to create and sustain successful information flow across your organization.
When you can efficiently capture, transform and manage information within and outside of your organization, you can provide a better experience for your patients. So while you may not currently have a “patient experience officer” at your hospital or health system, there’s still a lot you can do to make sure your patients are pleased with their care, as well as their overall visit to your organization.

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1 Customer experience in healthcare: The moment of truth. PwC U.S. Website accessed September 6, 2016. 
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