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Patient Experience Journey Lacks Defined Direction

Michael Zeis, for HealthLeaders Media, August 22, 2012

Getting buy-in from nonemployed physicians can be challenging. Many contracts with independent physicians include performance metrics. However, as Provena's Robert observes, "Most of the time, they are the hard metrics, such as quality, complications, readmissions, and hospital-acquired conditions."

Thompson says Gundersen Lutheran has several tactics beyond compensation to help physicians improve their patient experience skills; among them are goal-setting, transparency in sharing performance results, and coaching. "People from our service excellence department accompany physicians on rounds. They observe the visit from start to finish, trying to figure out what could be done to improve the patient's view of the interaction."


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Poor assessment about HCAHPS
More than half (54%) of respondents say they do not consider HCAHPS to be an effective measure of patient experience. Quite a few respondents do not like having "always" as a response choice. Says one, "The word 'always' sets the organization up for failure. Patients rarely mark anything as 'always' occurring." According to another, "Studies have demonstrated higher morbidity and mortality data with increasing patient/consumer satisfaction. That suggests that higher patient satisfaction does not necessarily translate to better care." One respondent recognizes that being hospitalized is stressful: "Because patients and families that are asked to participate in the survey at that time are stressed, sometimes their responses are driven by the stress associated with their situation."

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