Investing in Patient Experience Protects Hospital Revenue

Rene Letourneau, for HealthLeaders Media , May 19, 2014

Patient experience is not a nicety, but a quantifiable score that can decrease revenue. Learn from Cleveland Clinic's lessons: focus on culture, quickly; get physicians on board, despite their recalcitrance; and just get started.


James Merlino, MD
Chief Experience Officer at Cleveland Clinic

Many of the hospital and health system executives I speak with say the patient is at the center of everything their organization does. That had better be true given that hard dollars are now on the line, depending on how satisfied patients are with their care.

Under the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' Hospital Value-Based Purchasing program, hospitals can either lose or gain up to 1.25% of their Medicare payments in fiscal year 2014 based in part on their HCAHPS scores. CMS will up the ante over the next few years, with 2% of reimbursement dollars ultimately being at risk by fiscal year 2017.

Aligning Organizational Culture
Truly building a patient-centered environment often means changing an organizational culture that may be mired in internal politics or focused on processes and workflows that are designed for the convenience of staff and clinicians rather than the patient.

The first step to redefining the workplace culture around the patient is to get employees on board, James Merlino, MD, chief experience officer at healthcare giant Cleveland Clinic, recently told me.

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