There is a correlation and conclusions to be drawn from these shifts, but it's also important to point out that patient satisfaction and patient experience are not the same thing. [Incidentally, hospitals with high patient satisfaction scores, don't necessarily correlate with hospitals that offer high quality care, according to a study released this week.]
It is difficult to parse out the difference between them, and it is not just semantics. I've had some leading healthcare organizations tell me that patient satisfaction is a leading indicator of patient experience, but they are careful about not blurring the lines between the terms.
This is an important distinction for marketers and strategic planners to be aware of as the industry continues to move toward a more consumer conscious market place. In the 2013 HealthLeaders Media Industry Survey, patient experience and satisfaction topped the list of hospital executives' priorities. It is a strategic goal that is a natural fit for marketers, though with hospital leadership identifying it as a top priority, marketers will need to be ready to measure.
SHSMD's report indicates marketing professionals have honed in on the importance of metrics, placing more importance on them in the next five years. Currently, that task takes up about 11.3% of marketers' time. That's expected to increase, says Weber.
"We learned that research and evaluation tasks took up less of a marketer's time, and was not found to be as important as some of the other task categories," she said. "Well, that's about to change."