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Calculating the ROI on Patient Satisfaction Efforts

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

Assemble a multi-disciplinary team to research projects. Financial managers should be determining the operating impact-paralysis of first cost, ongoing cost effectiveness of the investment, and a multiyear return on the investment. The results may surprise you. Those responsible for clinical oversight should help define how it will improve patient satisfaction and safety. Advocating clean design, environmental risk management, standardization, and innovative design, materials, and equipment choices that create positive, empirically measureable outcomes can be "sold" to the c-suite. How will the project optimize work flow and organizational structure? Can the hospital market the system improvements to remain competitive, increase their market share, and encourage philanthropic donations? How can these benchmarks be documented?

What financial analysis can support a clinical decision? How can the nurse executive argue the clinical imperative and value of a functional program on a business decision? Safety, satisfaction, and costs go hand in hand. Present the facts. Consider the following examples:

Consumer Reports National Research Center published a report on March 31, 2011 that showed that 77% of those surveyed reported a "high level" of public concern that they would be harmed during treatment as a hospital patient.

Indeed, the 2010 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General report showed that one in seven Medicare patients or 13.5% of hospital patients experienced serious or long-term medical harm (including infections) or death while undergoing treatment in hospital; an additional 13% experienced temporary harm. The researchers estimated that hospital infections and medical errors involving Medicare patients contributed to approximately 180,000 deaths and $4.4 billion in additional hospital care costs each year.

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