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Why Only Asking For Positive Feedback Misses The Point

All healthcare organizations aim for high patient satisfaction scores to enhance their reputation for delivering quality care and increase revenue. While most hope to receive a good response, only asking for positive feedback often misses the point.

Here’s why.

Implementing the triple aims

Hospital leaders focus on developing innovative strategies to successfully implement the triple aims defined by the Institute of Healthcare Improvement. These are:

  • Improving the patient experience of care (including quality and satisfaction).
  • Improving the health of populations.
  • Reducing the per capita cost of healthcare.

Healthcare executives list “improving the patient /consumer experience” as one of their top priorities for 2020. Methods to enhance the patient experience, increase patient satisfaction scores and demonstrate high quality care must be the priority in every hospital’s 2020 strategic plan.

Measuring patient satisfaction

Patient satisfaction measurement is currently accomplished through HCAHPS surveys which are sent to the patient post-discharge.

Each survey requires the individual to rate the quality of care by answering 29 standardized questions covering five domains. These domains are:

  • nurse communication
  • doctor communication
  • responsiveness of hospital staff
  • communication about medicines
  • discharge information
  • information about their care transition after discharge

The average survey response rate is low at just 26%, however, these responses are significant for hospitals as Medicare publicly reports the results and uses them to calculate reimbursement for services provided.

High patient satisfaction scores can mean higher payments from Medicare. Medicare beneficiaries account for about 46% of hospital discharges.

Although patients who complete the HCAHPS survey sometimes provide comments on the survey form, these are not recorded, nor are they used to calculate scores or star ratings. Hospitals who receive these additional patient comments may use them to gain further insight into areas that need improvement.

The impact of online health reviews

Approximately 75% of patients select their healthcare provider based on social media reviews, drawing conclusions from both positive and negative comments.

75% of patients select their healthcare provider based on social media reviews. Click To Tweet

Online healthcare reviews can significantly influence public perception of the care that hospitals and physicians provide. They also have the potential to sway the opinions of current and future patients, and play a key role in both building and maintaining your hospital’s reputation.

Providers have questioned the validity of negative reviews posted on social media for the following reasons:

  • They suggest that some negative comments are not made by their patients.
  • No vetting process exists to confirm patient identity.
  • Responses from healthcare providers must be carefully drafted and remain HIPAA compliant.

If the comments are truly valid, however, there is great value in obtaining both positive and negative feedback from your patients. Hospital leaders and staff can celebrate successes and focus on areas that need improvement.

You cannot fix something if you don’t know it is broken!

Gaining real-time insight into patient feedback with iSUGEZT

  • How can healthcare providers obtain positive and negative feedback at the point of care?
  • How can hospitals gain insight, build trust, and use negative comments to transform the patient experience?
  • How can providers obtain insights from the patient perspective?
  • How can patients share these stories in a confidential manner, rather than through the public platform of social media?
  • How do current and future patients access transparent feedback (both positive and negative) to make informed decisions about the care they need?
  • How can patients place trust in your hospital?
  • How can you demonstrate transparency and always strive to understand the real needs of your patients?

There must be some form of innovative mechanism to obtain the patient perspective which allows for unfiltered feedback from current patients.

That feedback must offer a way for patients and their families to:

….recount the “patient story” of the care they receive during their hospital stay..

….via a simple to use platform, gathered in a free text, narrative format at the point of care (ie, while the patient is still in the hospital)..

….without relying on formatted questions.

VIE Healthcare® Consulting has developed iSUGEZT, a unique app based tool which is easily provided to patients and families on patient admission.

  • Throughout the patient journey, patients and family members can share their experience, offer suggestions, praise frontline staff for their outstanding care or share a challenge or problem they encounter.
  • This data is submitted to hospital leadership in real-time via the confidential iSUGEZT platform, giving patients the confidence that their stories will be heard.
  • Both positive and negative comments are welcomed, allowing hospital leaders to respond prior to patient discharge.

iSUGEZT feedback is a critical tool to embrace both positive and negative feedback for continuous improvement strategies and provide insight into the patient’s perspective of the care offered by your hospital.

Patient satisfaction is a key component of quality care, and continuous improvement is at the center of success in achieving the triple aim stated above.

Harnessing the power of data with iSUGEZT

Using the data that is acquired through the iSUGEZT app, hospitals can:

  • Share patient stories on their website if they choose.
  • Develop a storyboard to share positive and negative feedback with existing and potential patients. Sharing negative feedback demonstrates a culture of transparency and your hospital’s willingness to listen and provide solutions to issues raised by your patients.
  • Celebrate staff competencies, implement good decision making processes, and develop a culture of empathy, caring, and patient centered care.

All humans are vulnerable. As hospitals share their vulnerability and their patient stories, they reinforce their goal to provide the best patient experience.

By only collecting positive feedback, that point is missed.