Hospital leaders are focused on improving patient satisfaction, but it is a tough road to navigate in today’s healthcare landscape.
Between rising costs and labor shortages, hospitals are struggling to elevate patient satisfaction. Moving the dial will take dedication, comprehensive planning and enough staff to carry it out. To help in this endeavor, we’ve put together a list of the four most effective ways for hospitals to increase patient satisfaction.
1. Prioritize Direct Patient Care by Reducing Administrative Tasks
There is a strong link between employee satisfaction and patient care. Hospital employees can provide a better patient experience by reducing administrative tasks. In addition, staff will be less burdened by regulatory waste, allowing them to focus on their primary job duties and work more effectively.
Training patient access staff can be quite beneficial to help offset the challenges administrative tasks bring to the team. These professionals can manage the administrative duties, giving other healthcare workers more freedom with less pressure.
Some of the critical areas of training for patient access staff include:
- Documenting denied cases.
- Communicating with providers and patients.
- Ensuring insurance coverage is available.
- Getting pre-authorization.
- Confirming hospital services meet the requirements of policies.
2. Increasing Physician Engagement
Physicians and other advanced healthcare providers, as well as nurses, are often at the forefront of patient satisfaction. Ensuring physicians are attended to equally as much as patients can considerably improve patient satisfaction. With the continual influx of increased pressure and expectations, physician burnout is a massive issue to be addressed.
Hospitals need to consider the reasons for physician burnout and ways to remedy it. Some of the most commonly reported concerns physicians have with their employment include:
- Experiencing a lack of autonomy and control.
- Lessened respect from colleagues and administrators.
- Emphasizing paperwork over direct patient care.
At the end of the day, most advanced healthcare providers want to feel like their work is worth something. So the happier your doctors are, the happier your patients will be, and you’ll notice an upward trend in patient satisfaction.
There are multiple benefits experienced with increased physician engagement, such as lower healthcare costs, improved patient safety, and higher physician retention.
As a hospital leader, you must take the time to regularly check in with your staff to see if improvements are needed. In addition, engaging physicians in their employment is a surefire way to provide the best environment for them to blossom.
3. Leveraging AI (Artificial Intelligence)
Artificial intelligence (AI) is making its mark in several industries, especially healthcare. Implementing these technologies can help hospitals get a better idea of patient satisfaction. Within AI, there are unique algorithms designed to aggregate and analyze data.
This data then gets turned into reports that hospitals can use to improve their services in various ways. According to researchers from Penn State, this new technology only requires patient satisfaction surveys to begin analysis. From there, it can anticipate the needs of each patient, producing helpful recommendations that every hospital needs.
There’s no doubt that patient care isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation when artificial intelligence becomes most useful. Instead, it takes a more customized approach to ensure patients are more satisfied with their healthcare journey. However, it also helps to streamline patient care.
Using these technologies, hospitals can predict the needs of specific groups like emergency visits and cancer treatments. It can also be highly beneficial for improving pre- and post-operative groups.
With the emergence of new technologies, hospitals must implement their devices with patients in mind. They will need to be human-like to help encourage patient satisfaction. Also, AI shouldn’t wholly replace the physician-patient experience; it simply makes it easier for doctors and other healthcare professionals to manage.
4. Improving Emergency Department Patient Experiences
The last significant area to focus on when dealing with patient satisfaction is improving emergency department (ED) experiences.
Seventy percent of inpatients at hospitals are processed through the emergency department, more than half of the total intakes. You can guarantee that your emergency department is the epicenter of patient care and satisfaction with these numbers.
Collecting data from the ED can give you a clear idea of what areas of the hospital need improvement the most. It can also help boost your patient satisfaction scores tenfold, as it covers most patients. The better run your ED is, the happier your patients will be, as will the rest of your hospital staff.
True patient satisfaction can be measured through how emergencies are handled. Do patients feel attended to while waiting? Do waiting rooms have exponentially long wait times before patients are seen?
Many questions need to be asked and answered to better determine general patient satisfaction. Apart from the intake process, it’s also important to consider patient and physician interactions in the emergency department. Are patients satisfied with doctors’ bedside manner, or is there room for improvement?
Another critical area of emergency patient care is to give your patients access to added support and benefits. For example, patient concierge services help ensure hospital inpatients can handle their everyday tasks while addressing their health concerns. You can guarantee your patient satisfaction survey scores will be through the roof by adding this extra support.
Whether you collect this data manually or with the help of artificial intelligence, it’s incredibly valuable. Starting with your emergency department can help you improve general satisfaction throughout your entire hospital.
Successfully Increasing Patient Satisfaction
Finding four surefire ways to increase patient satisfaction at your hospital starts with employees and ends with your patients. Satisfaction will rise by focusing on improving emergency department interactions, managing administrative work, leveraging AI, and offering additional support. With the growing pressures on the healthcare industry, maintaining a high quality of care is essential.