The Correlation Between Employee Satisfaction and Patient Experience in Hospitals

Today, patient experience ratings and patient outcomes are a critical part of reimbursements and incentives for U.S. hospitals.

Organizations that deliver a “superior customer experience achieve net margins that are 50 percent higher than hospitals providing “average” customer service.

Which patient experience initiatives make the greatest impact while remaining cost-effective?

Ultimately, your employees are driving the patient experience so their engagement levels are a key factor in patient-centered care. The link between patient experience and employee engagement is so strong that 68 percent of hospitals have named engagement as the primary component of their 2018 patient experience initiatives.

Research indicates that increasing employee engagement achieves three objectives:

1. Improved quality of care
A Gallup study found that “patients on less engaged units were 54 times more likely to get surgical-site infections than those of more engaged units.” And hospitals with low employee engagement levels, especially among clinical staff, payed more than $1.1 million annually in malpractice claims than those with the most engaged employees.

2. Increased patient satisfaction with their medical team
For every one-percent increase in employee engagement, an organization’s overall hospital HCAHPS rating increases by 0.33 percent.

3. Increased patient loyalty
For every 10 percent of nurses reporting job dissatisfaction, the likelihood of patient recommendation decreases by two percent. This extends to patient families and friends who are more likely to choose a hospital in which they’ve had a positive experience.

The benefit of increased employee engagement doesn’t stop with improved patient experience. Engagement also reduces the cost of turnover.

Since 2011, physician burnout has substantially increased, driving many physicians to reduce hours, retire early or change professions altogether. This comes with a hefty price tag. Replacing a physician costs between $500,000 and $1 million according to Atrius Health, the largest independent physician-led healthcare organization in the Northeast.

The impact of employee engagement or lack thereof radiates throughout your entire hospital. Organizations with high employee engagement levels have lower turnover, lower absenteeism and fewer patient safety accidents – and as engagement levels rise so do patient and physician satisfaction scores creating a cycle of continuous improvement.