Outcomes Only Part of High Satisfaction

Posted on January 3, 2011

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Here is an excellent article from the New York Times via the Gainesville Sun) from a ‘layman’s perspective’ (doctor’s account of a patient’s wife’s opinions) on the patient experience and how important the healing environment is to care—especially when patients have a choice.

Some notable quotations:

Like most clinicians, I had always been quick to assert that good clinical care — the right treatment, the most appropriate technology and a strong patient-doctor relationship — was all that really mattered in health care. Nonclinical amenities just added unnecessary costs and fueled profit-driven medicine. But I also knew how meaningful a pleasant lobby, private rooms and good food could be for patients and doctors…and I had offered no protests when the hospitals I worked in became embroiled in costly renovation projects.

Recent studies have shown that when choosing a hospital, patients are more likely to consider nonclinical services than their doctors’ recommendations, the distance from home or hospital-specific mortality rates.

“At some level,” Dr. Romley observed, “people are probably willing to trade off clinical quality for a very pleasant experience.”

Healthcare administrators and owners:  this is especially relevant to your spheres of influence in your facility. Listen to your patients. Sometimes patient satisfaction and return visits are not about investment in the hard numbers like square footage, but ‘perks’ like soothing colors, wall-to-wall carpeting and even the art on your walls.

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