In 2004 Time magazine ran an article that stated that local hospitals had done patient survey’s and had found that patients thought the staff to be offering poor service and that the patients thought they were very much so ill-informed of the decisions concerning home care. The hospital’s response in the matter to this survey created some very positive results. The hospital also formed a family and patient advisory council. Based on the advice of the council several very important changes were made. Visiting hours were eliminated. Staff working with patients and staff had to decide who would then make decisions.

Waiting times were frequently shortened. Staff called home after patient discharge to ensure that the instructions were clear enough to be followed. The improvements, along with others led from patient rankings in the lower third nationally to the 64th percentile. More improvements are surely coming along with those higher rankings.

After all, why should a hospital be concerned with this kind of information and patient satisfaction? One is that the healthcare market is becoming more and more competitive. Medicate often posts the results of mandatory patient surveys of hospitals on its website. There are three major hospitals in the metro area and if media campaigns are any indication, the competition surely is becoming very alive and healthy. Word of mouth is often a very important part of any advertising campaign.

Unfortunately though, there are many hospitals who have yet to realize the value and importance of patient satisfaction, in spite of the fact that it was one of the major recommendations . Another return in paying attention to patient satisfaction is the improved health of the patients. By knowing who is empowered to make medical decisions, time is being saved in making important medical decisions. By following up on instructions at home, costly errors in terms of health and money are being prevented and patients are able to heal much quicker, which in turn drives down the rate for readmissions due to complications after discharging a patient.

The growing use of health care accounts (H.S.A’s) has also led to an increased comparison of quality and cost in this procedure. Even with all of this to contemplate, it’s still very much so difficult to know what your patients potential actually is. Therefore, it’s very is vital that you know what your patients think is very important. Surveys offer an excellent way for you to find out this type of information.

Competition is also increasing in the primary care setting. It’s ever so important to find out exactly what patients think. Two useful tips would be to find out how to insure that you get a random sample for best results and what size of response is necessary to get good results. And access to a standardized survey for the primary care physician to find out what they have developed. While surveys are great, a survey developed specifically for a particular healthcare setting will always return more valuable results.


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