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Doctors' Challenge: Boost Patient Satisfaction, Maintain Clinical Excellence

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, August 30, 2012

The hiring process is one of the first steps for Advocate Good Samaritan and others to bring together the clinical and patient outcomes, with an eye on improving HCAHPS  scores. Under the government's value-based purchasing program, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services plans to pay bonuses from an $850 million pool to hospitals that score "above average" on certain quality measures. In 2014, patient satisfaction scores will determine 30% of the bonuses, while clinical process of care will make up 70%.

For Advocate Good Samaritan and other hospitals, once a staff is assembled, weekly rounds have become increasingly important—not only to improve clinical work, but also to improve patient satisfaction.

Improved education programs also are important for physicians and nurses, with hopes of making these healthcare professionals more sensitive to the needs of patients, and aware of the patient concerns. Physicians, in particular, are being advised to exhibit a better bedside manner by sitting near the patients' beds, possibly holding the hand of an older patient and looking him or her in the eyes.

Obviously, communication is an integral part of the program, but that's easy to say. For hospitals and healthcare systems, it's how that value is implemented. 

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