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Mixed Messages on Patient Satisfaction

Edward Prewitt, for HealthLeaders Media, August 13, 2012
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Still, it's not a bad thing that patient experience now shows up as a top priority for 84% of healthcare leaders responding to our latest Intelligence Report (highlights start on page 22). Yet there is no consensus among these C-level executives and director-level leaders on how to make it happen. Nearly 60% say their organizations have made no specific investment toward bettering the patient experience or could not estimate that investment. Only a third say it is very important to tie financial compensation to patient experience measurements—yet the power of financial incentives to change behavior is well-documented, as one organization profiled in our Intelligence Report found.

HCAHPS is by far the top measure for tracking patient experience success or failure, used by three-quarters of our survey respondents. Yet 54% do not consider HCAHPS an effective measure of patient experience. That kind of mixed messaging will inevitably be reflected in organizational approaches to patient experience.

I recently moderated a panel of hospital and health system COOs speaking at one of HealthLeaders Media's executive Roundtables. Far from limiting their focus to expense management, these operations officers were deeply concerned with the patient experience. They wondered out loud, without joking, whether they should be retitled as Chief Relationship Officers. Should healthcare organizations have had this position in place all along?


This article appears in the August 2012 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.


Edward Prewitt is the Editorial Director of HealthLeaders Media.
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