Hospitals and health systems have had an eye on patient satisfaction over the past few years and have, more recently, been ramping up their patient experience initiatives—and it's starting to show. Patients were more satisfied with their care at inpatient facilities than during any of the previous six years, according to a recent report from Press Ganey Associates, Inc.
Patient satisfaction has steadily increased since 2003, with 85% of those surveyed reporting satisfaction with care in October 2008, according to The 2009 Hospital Pulse Report: Patient Perspectives on American Health Care.
But the best news in the study is data that shows it's not just the patients who are benefitting from a better experience. Hospitals are reaping rewards for their efforts, as well.
According to the study:
But there's still room for improvement, according to the South Bend, IN–based agency. It recommends hospitals focus on five areas related to questions to patients about their likelihood to recommend the hospital to others. They are, ranked in order of importance:
The top priority—response to concerns and complaints—is a real opportunity for hospitals, according to the report. Service recovery "can make a big difference for patients," the report notes. "A key differentiator of 'good' versus 'very good' care is what happens when something goes wrong or the patient's needs are not being met."
The survey report includes a number of charts, graphs, and statistics, including a list of states with the highest inpatient satisfaction, inpatient satisfaction by specialty, type of admission, bed size, and patient age. (Care to guess which age group is the least satisfied?) There's also a case study about the Oakwood Southshore Medical Center in Trenton, MI, which took a team approach to improving patient satisfaction.