Patient Satisfaction. Of all the measures in the industry that can be manipulated to make a hospital or healthcare provider look good (or bad)—and there are plenty—patient satisfaction has to rank high on the list for the weight and amount of attention it receives compared to the evidence it has as a valuable measure on patient outcomes and delivery of healthcare services.
Emergency Physicians Monthly posted an article that does a far better job of outlining those concerns than I could, and it’s well worth reading: http://epmonthly.com/article/227-seven-things-you-may-not-know-about-press-gainey-statistics
While it may not come as a surprise that the article was originally published in 2010 (healthcare is a slow-moving beast), it is still—seven years later!—receiving comments (and they are also worth reading), so clearly the problems with patient satisfaction ratings remain. Tellingly, these articles and many similar ones are the top results in a Google search for Press Ganey, the “leader” in measuring patient satisfaction.
We think this is a space with room for improvement. Patient surveys, especially as implemented for specialty services like wound care suffer from several problems, including:
- Sample size and low response numbers
- Biases in the responding population
- Time delays and availability of reports
- Irrelevant survey questions
- Inactionable response data
Even if we set aside the validity and statistical significance of responses for a moment, the types of surveys usually conducted may capture a fair amount of data, but they often make it difficult not just to see the forest for the trees, but also to do anything about it.
So, this month, we launched a new “Patient Happiness” pilot at a handful of selected centers that aims to solve these problems. Participating centers have an iPad installed in the waiting room with a custom-built application that simply asks for visitors in the wound center to rate their experience. The responses are anonymous and aggregated for display in Luvo (our wound center operations platform) to the program director and executive team at the hospital.
Happiness levels can be benchmarked against target values or against our corporate average. The hope is that responses provide the ability to identify trends and spot problems quickly. We anticipate, for instance, that if Patient Happiness drops by 15% every Tuesday, that the Program Director could identify the reason (a prickly doctor? slow clinician leading to long wait times?) and take corrective actions to improve the experience in the wound center. Patient care, after all, is everything.
The Patient Happiness pilot program is currently underway with expansion to our partner centers planned over the next few months. Existing partners interested in the pilot or early access to the program can reach out to their Luvo Liaison or contact our corporate office at 888.484.3922 for more information.