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Calculating the ROI on Patient Satisfaction Efforts

Sandie Colatrella, RN, BSN, CLNC for HealthLeaders Media, June 28, 2011

The HealthLeaders Media 2011 Annual Survey identified a perceptible disparity in thinking between CEOs and nurse executives. The data collected distinguished the priorities of the two groups, with the c-suite respondents claiming cost reduction as their most important concern and nurse executives ranking patient satisfaction as first. But are they so different?

The apparent fork in the road is the result of competing demands and internal organizational perspectives. Hospital leadership is forced to face a new reality in order to effectively deploy resources to continue and improve operations as a result of skyrocketing costs; unpredictable reimbursement, including pay for performance; work force shortages; the public outcry for improved quality and safety; and the demand for increased transparency. 

Positive financial and clinical successes do not occur in isolation from one another. Proven process-driven improvements, implemented concurrently with staffing and facility improvements, are crucial to a facility's ability to prosper. Fiduciary responsibility and providing a notable healing environment can and do co-exist.

The process of presenting a business case for any major expenditure should start with some basic questions:

  • Does it meet the facility's mission, organizational structure, and vision of the project?
  • Are the associated costs prudent in light of other alternatives that might achieve the same goal?
  • What is the financial impact of any project?

For example, if the facility is considering a building renovation project, consider the following:

  • Will it result in increased admission capacity?
  • Will it increase the hospital's bond rating as a result of capital improvements?
  • Will it help avoid hospital-acquired conditions or never events that result in decreased reimbursement?

One should look at cost savings by cost avoidance as well. For example, will it reduce litigation, malpractice settlements, or worker's compensation cases?

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