Tag Archives: Patient Satisfaction

Hippocrates and the Internet

The Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine recently graduated its second class. The commencement was a wonderful “feel-good” event, complete with beautiful weather, happy graduates and proud families. The ceremony closed with the newly minted physicians rising to their feet and reciting the oath of the physician. In a nice touch, the other physicians in the audience were invited to renew their commitment to the profession by joining in. I found the whole thing joyous, and the opportunity to publically take the oath again was a moving reminder of what doctoring is all about.

Coincidentally, I also had the opportunity this week to lead one of the sessions in Northwell’s Physician Leadership Development Program,  part of a half-day session with Sven Gierlinger, our organization’s Chief Experience Officer, and Jill Kalman, the Medical Director of Lenox Hill Hospital, devoted to the voice of the patient.  My bit was about our “transparency project”to publish our physicians’ patient experience scores on our public website.  I used the story of how and why we did that as a case study that tied together the themes of physicians driving change and of improving the care we provide to patients and their families.

It was only after the fact that it occurred to me that there was a profound connection between the two events.

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Mistakes about “Patient Satisfaction”

I had two experiences recently that reminded me that many doctors and nurses remain resistant to measuring and improving how patients experience the care we provide. One was a face-to-face discussion with a senior physician. The other was reading an article by a nurse. Both the doctor and the nurse denounced the growing focus on the patient experience by citing the threat to quality of care, and I believe both of them were totally wrong.

The encounter with the physician came as I addressed a group of newly hired physicians. As I typically do in these circumstances, I outlined our Medical Group’s commitment to increasing the visibility of the results of our patient experience surveys. We have been providing our physicians with reports on their patients’ feedback for the better part of a year, and we anticipate posting physician-specific results on our public website within a few months. During the Q&A, one of the physicians objected to the plan, saying that “patients can’t judge the quality of care that we provide.”

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Engaging Patients

Patient satisfaction is hot. Major payers, including the federal government have linked hospital payment to institutional performance on patient surveys of their experience with care, and are poised to do the same with physician payments. There is a proliferation of commercial websites for patients to offer up their reviews of physicians and to check out the ratings already there. An entire industry of consultants has appeared to help institutions improve how patients experience the care they provide. Hospitals and health systems, including our own, have hired Chief Experience Officers. Continue reading Engaging Patients

Evaluating Physician Performance

I was invited to give a talk about “patient satisfaction” at a recent OB/Gyn Grand Rounds. I have written previously that “satisfaction” is a pretty low bar, and so I spoke instead about the patient experience.  Continue reading Evaluating Physician Performance

Great Night

I had a wonderful experience last night, hosting a dinner in honor of the recipients of our first annual Patients’ Choice Award, given to the 5 physicians with the best scores on the outpatient patient satisfaction survey. As readers of this blog know, I don’t like the term “patient satisfaction,” because it seems like such a simplistic measure and a low bar. I think that quality care and effective communication require a lot more than “satisfying” patients. Continue reading Great Night

Patient Satisfaction

There is a lot of talk these days about patient satisfaction. For several years, hospitals have been mandated by CMS to survey their discharged patients about their experiences. The results have been publicly reported and payments are tied to performance. This approach, including the use of a federally mandated standard questionnaire and the linking of payment by CMS to scores, is also planned for physician practices. These policies, which are being adopted by private insurers as well as government payers, have been credited with forcing hospitals and doctors to be more attentive to “customer service.”

It is hard to argue against the need for better service, and for better attention to patients’ comfort, and these programs seem to be working (registration required). But a couple of things about this whole approach leave me feeling more sad than inspired.
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