The patient satisfaction is one of the most commonly used indicators for measuring the quality of healthcare in a hospital. On top of that, patient satisfaction now factors into Medicare reimbursement. It is; therefore, hospital managers nowadays are committed to improving patient satisfaction. According to the 2013 HealthLeaders Media Business Survey, more than half (54%) of health officials say that patient satisfaction is one of their top three priorities.
Almost everyone in the health sector knows how critical patient satisfaction is to a hospital. Likewise, the question that everyone is interested in is how to improve patient satisfaction in their hospital.
Here are five practical tips for hospital managers and healthcare executives to improve patient satisfaction.
1. Show empathy for your patients
Although from a commercial point of view, patients are also customers, they require more compassion and empathy than the customers of other sectors. It is generally accepted that empathy is a good thing and should be the foundation of attitudes towards patient care, or at least should play a significant role in the relationship between doctor and patient. Some experts even believe empathy should be the backbone of the physician-patient relationship. An in-depth systematic analysis of published literature  has shown that empathy reduces anxiety and distress for patients and leads to significantly better clinical outcomes.
2. Patient experience is at the heart of healthcare
Patient engagement might be the only one thing everyone agrees on when it comes to the improvement of healthcare quality and patient satisfaction. Anyone connected to health care knows this and is interested in promoting patient engagement in ways that help caregivers, doctors, nurses and, most importantly, patients. Studies have shown that patients who are actively involved have better health outcomes and are more satisfied. Engaged patients feel more cared and generally more grateful to caregivers for their efforts.
3. Happy employee happy patient
Everyone knows that the patient experience is correlated with employee satisfaction. Engaged and satisfied employees lead to better health outcomes and help improve patient satisfaction in hospitals.In fact, the link between patient experience and employee engagement is so strong that 68% of hospitals have identified engagement as the primary component of their 2018 patient experience initiatives. According to Press Ganey's Healthcare Satisfaction Report, "Empirical evidence suggests that increased employee satisfaction is associated with increased patient satisfaction." In a hospital, patient loyalty, quality of care and level of trust also increase with the improvement of employee satisfaction. According to a Gallup study, patients in fewer engaged(employee) units were 54 times more likely to have surgical site infections than those in more engaged units . The impact of engaged and satisfied employees is also reflected in patient satisfaction surveys, a recent report found that for every 1% increase in employee engagement, an institution's overall HCAHPS score increases by 0.33%.
4. Good Communication is the key
Patients want to know every detail of their treatments and Each provider wishes to inform his patients of their efforts. Good communication between hospital staff and patients can secure both wants and it helps to improve the patient-provider relationship. You may say that many patients already know their providers/doctors/ nurses. But do you know that the patient-provider relationship established within the hospital can have a greater impact on patient satisfaction than patient-provider communication outside of the hospital ? Therefore, hospital authorities should create an environment where communication is easy and lively.
5. Recover the mistakes (Service Recovery)
None are above mistakes, not even the best doctors or nurses. But when a successful organization makes mistakes, it recognizes its mistakes and tries to recover the losses. This is called "service recovery". It's the last chance of turning unhappy patients. Service recovery gives patients the feeling of being supported as promised and feel that the hospital respects their organizational commitment. In addition, due to the Service Recovery Paradox, the patient will probably become more satisfied.