Most healthcare organizations would rank improving the patient experience as one of their top priorities for both the short and long term. However, there is often a large contrast between what healthcare providers think would positively impact the patient experience and what patients report as their top choices for improvements.

A 2012 HealthLeaders Media survey asked hospital executives what changes to the inpatient stay would have the biggest impact on improving the patient experience. The top recommendations were interactive bedside computers, quiet time to ensure rest, new facilities, private rooms, and food on demand. However, the results of ongoing CMS satisfaction scores report that what patients desire most are cleaner rooms, friendly staff, greater respect, improved communication, and attentiveness to their needs and concerns.

Screen_Shot_2015-08-31_at_5.26.38_PMThese contrasting ideas on patient satisfaction are preventing care providers from delivering the highest quality of care to patients. According to HealthLeaders Media, 84% of healthcare leaders rank patient experience among their top three priorities, but 58% report that they have not made specific patient experience investments. When only half the country is actively looking for ways to understand and act upon patients’ priorities, there is a lot of room for improvement.

Improving the patient experience is a clear goal for hospitals in order to provide a higher quality of care, ensure satisfied patients, and avoid CMS penalties for low patient satisfaction scores. But all too often, providers don’t have the necessary level of insight into patient’s feedback on the inpatient stay to make informed and effective improvements.

For healthcare organization to make a real impact on the patient experience they must first identify exactly what patients find to be the most important aspects of their care. While better food options and technological facilities might be important to patients, something as simple as taking the time to talk with them might be more important. Collecting and analyzing data through rounds or calling patients after they leave the hospital are two straightforward ways to gain real-time insight into patient perceptions.

If organizations are going to prioritize improving the patient experience in the short or long term, executives will need to identify solutions for helping them understand and improve their unique offerings and experiences. For more information on how we can help reach your patient experience goals, contact us today.

In her role as Market Manager for Hospitals and Health Systems, Lucia Huang, RN, integrates her previous experiences on the front lines of patient care within the broader context of the business of healthcare. She is passionate about empowering nurses to provide the highest quality and experience of patient care through technology. Lucia graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BS in Economics from the Wharton School and a BSN from the School of Nursing.