Patient Satisfaction as a Driver in the High-Performing OB/GYN Practice

Patient Satisfaction as a Driver in the High Performing OBGYN Practice

Given the intimate nature of OB/GYN visits and the role that these specialists play during memorable life events such as pregnancy and childbirth, patients tend to develop more personal relationships with their OB/GYN compared to their other physicians. As such, patient satisfaction is especially critical for OB/GYNs when it comes to optimizing quality of care and creating practice loyalty.

The shift toward value-based care has accentuated the importance of patient experience across the healthcare continuum and satisfaction is a key metric in measuring quality. With the introduction of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, or MACRA for short, physicians’ payments for care of Medicare recipients will be tied to performance criteria, including various types of quality measures such as patient engagement experience, efficiency and outcome. While physicians with very low Medicare volumes could be exempted from MACRA, an exception that’s especially relevant to OB/GYNs, it’s anticipated that commercial plans will likely adopt similar payment models.

OB/GYN practices that proactively prioritize patient experience today will be better positioned to manage the transition to value-based care. Those that implement standardized procedures for the collection and evaluation of patient satisfaction data will be able to make more meaningful improvements to patient experiences, and in turn receive increased payments for value.

More than Reimbursement, Satisfaction Shapes Overall Practice Health

It’s also important to remember that patients are consumers of healthcare and they are footing a larger portion of the bill than ever before. When patients are conducting due diligence during the OB/GYN selection process or evaluating their current physician, they likely have high expectations of service. The degree to which a practice embraces a commitment to service quality can have significant impacts on patient loyalty and retention.

According to a recent survey, word-of-mouth is still considered the primary method of provider referral and online presence is increasingly influencing patient selection of providers. This same study found that a majority of patients cite customer service as the most important factor when it comes to influencing practice loyalty. To minimize patient churn and drive new volume, it’s important for OB/GYN practices to actively manage their reputation by leveraging patient feedback from online reviews, CG-CAHPS, and/or point-of-care surveys to continually make service improvements. Patients who are satisfied with their experience are not only likely to stay with their OB/GYN, but recommend the practice to others.

Three Strategies That Can Help Enhance Patient Satisfaction in Your OB/GYN Practice

  1. Active Listening: Demonstrating to patients that you respect their opinions and hear their concerns is key to building long-term relationships. Pregnancy, in particular, is one of the most important times in a woman’s life, and sensitivity to their needs is crucial to shaping patient perceptions of quality.
  2. Personal Warmth and Empathy: A patient can quickly pick up on when their physician is distracted or hurried, and it’s important to put patients at ease by making a strong effort to minimize stress and tension. This is especially relevant to OB/GYNs, as exams can sometimes cause physical discomfort.
  3. Adoption of Digital Healthcare Solutions: From automated outreach solutions for routine prenatal appointment reminders and annual well-woman visit alerts, to customizable patient satisfaction surveys, OB/GYN practices can utilize healthcare IT to improve patient engagement and capture patient experience data to enhance care quality.

Implementing processes and technology that captures the voice of your patients can significantly improve patient satisfaction in your OB/GYN practice. At CipherHealth we are thrilled to help practices and clinics achieve quadruple aim goals, including increasing patient satisfaction. For more information, explore our automated outreach, point-of-care surveys, and coordinated care management solutions.

Ben Kraus, Market Manager, is based in CipherHealth's headquarters in New York City. He focuses on issues concerning ambulatory care and alternative payment models, and has a special interest in how technology can spur the shift from volume to value in healthcare and enhance care coordination. In the wee hours of night, you just might find Ben jamming on stage with his bass guitar in one of the many music venues throughout the five boroughs.