A couple months ago, one of my family members was in the hospital recuperating from back surgery. Although I wanted to visit, I stayed away so she could get some rest, because she was awakened almost hourly for check-ups.
Though her experience in the hospital was long and resulted in some complications, when I met up with her weeks after her discharge, she was still texting the nurses she had befriended during her stay.
This got me thinking about patient experience and how little details like keeping the lights off while checking on a sleeping patient can transform grumpy patients into grateful patients.
From a financial standpoint, patient experience is gaining importance as a measure of quality. The Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey scores will soon be directly tied to financial incentives for hospitals and health facilities.
How patients answer 17 questions posed in Medicare's HCAHPS survey determines 30% of each hospital's score and a chance to receive a share of $850 million that will be deducted from Medicare's payments to 3,500 hospitals in FY 2013.
The trickledown effect for marketers creates pressure to reflect a positive and relatable patient experience in campaign messages.
Alabama-based Jacksonville Medical Center (JMC) is trying to do just that. Though the 89-bed hospital is ranked number one hospital for patient satisfaction for North Calhoun County, its recognition in the community is small, based on community survey data.