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Doctors' Challenge: Boost Patient Satisfaction, Maintain Clinical Excellence

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, August 30, 2012

Hospitals are finding that excellent clinical outcomes don't always translate into patient satisfaction. A top notch surgery track record can be trumped by a lousy bedside manner. In a split second, a shift change or some other personnel move, can alter the patient's experience from "great" to "get-me-out-of-here." 

As hospitals try to improve their satisfaction scores, physicians are playing a crucial role to bridge that clinical and patient satisfaction gap, with many federal dollars at stake.

David Fox, president and CEO of the 326-bed Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, IL, attributes his facility's high clinical and patient satisfaction scores to long-term planning for improved clinical and patient satisfaction. Thomson Reuters (now Truven Health Analytics) named the 326-bed Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital as being among the nation's top healthcare systems.

Fox connects much of the hospital's success to an intense concentration on training and hiring staff, particularly doctors and nurses. As the hospital evaluates the potential staff, Fox says there also is a major focus on how a prospective employee might impact patient attitudes. "We, as human beings, can have a tendency to remember the negative and it overwhelms the positive," Fox told me.

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