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Patient Satisfaction Data Transparency Aids Hospital Performance

As patients assume the role of healthcare consumers, it's important that hospitals promote patient satisfaction data transparency to stay afloat.

By Sara Heath

It’s not enough for healthcare organizations to simply collect patient satisfaction data. Promoting data transparency and actually using that data will be the key to helping practices improve in the long-run.

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That’s because the healthcare industry is becoming far more concerned with patient experiences than with simple transactions of care. Healthcare consumers want information about their experiences collected, and they want to know about their peers’ experiences, as well.

“Healthcare consumers – a lot of this is driven by healthcare reform – have really become more involved in their care and their care choices,” Joe Greskoviak, president and chief operating officer at Press Ganey, told PatientEngagementHIT.com in a recent interview.

“As a part of that, I think healthcare consumers have become much more demanding relative to the type of information that they require to better understand some of their healthcare choices.”

This kind of data transparency is similar to a Yelp-style situation. Healthcare organizations can collect patient satisfaction and experience data, and make that data available to their patients to help them make future decisions about healthcare.

READ MORE: Patients Say Primary Care Access Pushes Health Industry Growth

According to Greskoviak, healthcare organizations should make sure the data they’re collecting is high-quality and gives patients enough information to make a decision. By implementing a set of standards by which the organization measures patient satisfaction, as well as collecting ample patient feedback, organizations can make their data far more actionable on the part of the patient.

“When you think about online reviews, a lot of what we’re talking about is brand perception and patient loyalty. So it is incredibly important that the data that consumers have to better understand this is accurate, and that it is truly reflective of a performance of a provider,” Greskoviak explained.

The collection and transparency of quality patient satisfaction data can also play a major role in improving a healthcare organization on the whole, Greskoviak said. While patients can use patient satisfaction data to select their physicians, hospital leaders can use it to implement performance improvement efforts.

“How do we use this information, organize it, and use it in a way where healthcare organizations could engage in a proactive manner with their physicians and caregivers to drive quality performance improvement efforts within their organizations?” Greskoviak asked.

In many cases, this all links back to the quality of information gathered. If healthcare organizations collect ample patient satisfaction data points, physicians will be able to reflect on their past performances and determine solutions to any of their pitfalls.

READ MORE: Patient Experience, Pop Health Strategies Lead 2017 Headlines

This data collection should also include specific patient comment which gives detailed insights into a patient provider interaction. Greskoviak stated that he considers patient comments some of the most valuable data that providers can use to improve their performance.

“So it’s not just the actual star rating where a physician can see that he or she received 4.2 stars, but the fact that every written comment is there and the value of the sentiment within that written comment really brings a human element to the entire concept of rating,” Greskoviak noted. “This is the written word of their patients. There’s incredible value there.”

What can providers expect to find when reviewing their patient satisfaction data? While patient comments will vary depending upon each individual patient’s experience, providers always expect to gain insights into how to retain patient loyalty.

“A lot of this is being used to better understand patient loyalty,” Greskoviak explained. “Healthcare has become a market share game. To really be able to survive and thrive in healthcare you have to continue to grow your market share, and the best way to grow your market share is not to lose the market share that you have today.”

And through his nearly 30 years in the healthcare industry, Greskoviak has identified trends in patient loyalty, and learned that it doesn’t always rely on the factors one might expect, such as patient wait times.

READ MORE: Healthcare Organizations Expect to Focus on Consumer Engagement

“It’s interesting, because I think that the immediate reaction is that patient loyalty is based off things like wait time,” Greskoviak noted. “What we have found is that that’s not necessarily the case, and that there are drivers of patient loyalty that are very actionable.”

Overall, patient loyalty has consistently boiled down to three points, including communication, provider empathy, and care coordination.

“What we find is that loyalty is primarily being driven by number one, communication,” he said. “There’s a difference between waiting and not knowing why you’re waiting.”

“Empathy,” Greskoviak said, continuing to list the factors of patient loyalty. “Patients want to understand that we actually care for them. So our ability to be empathetic in our delivery of care is incredibly important to patients. And the last one is coordination of care. Patients want us to be working as teams.”

Going forward, zeroing in on these patient satisfaction data points will be crucial if providers want to survive during the consumerization of healthcare. By collecting quality patient satisfaction data, maintaining data transparency, and helping providers understand that data, healthcare organizations can make a difference in their care delivery.

Doing so will be important going forward. As patient-centered care continues to gain a foothold in the healthcare industry, patients will also continue their transitions into consumers.

“When we think about consumerism, patients will continue to demand more and more information not only relative to patient experience, but information relative to quality of care and financial implications,” Greskoviak concluded. “Consumerism is here to stay.”

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