A recent report issued by Accenture details clear links between the profitability of a hospital and the quality of its patient experience. Hospitals that deliver “superior” customer experience achieve net margins that are a massive 50 percent higher, on average, than those of hospitals providing an “average” customer experience. Deloitte Consulting LLP have also issued a report offering similar findings. Their report also gives a nod to the old adage that “you have to spend more to make more” – showing clearly that hospitals which spend more on the patient experience get disproportionately higher returns on their investment.
Reading both of these reports, the question begging to be asked is how can the patient experience be changed to improve the bottom line? We’ve put together a few suggestions…
Reducing no shows
Patient no-shows are a huge drain on hospital resources. There’s plenty of reasons why someone might not show up, but forgetfulness is definitely high on the list. Improving communication methods by sending timely letters and sending text reminders 48 and 24 hours before an appointment makes a world of difference to your patient and ensures your specialists aren’t missing out on revenue earning potential.
Improve Staff Engagement
The same Deloitte report explains that highly engaged staff boost the patient experience, translating into better performance. Patient experience scores pertaining to interactions with nurses have the strongest association with hospital financial outcomes.
Invest in post-op care and implement a structured post-op patient journey to reduce readmission rates
An article released this week by Kaiser Health News shows that the federal government’s financial penalties on hospitals have reached a new high. Medicare will withhold more than half a billion dollars in payments over the next year because of higher than expected readmission rates. By providing better quality post-op care and by continuing to have a dialogue with the patient after their release, hospitals can make sure patients are following best practice for post op care and physicians can identify and resolve minor issues before they become a readmission.
Spend more time talking to your patients to reduce unnecessary testing
In the US, redundant testing alone has been estimated to waste up to $5 billion each year. According to a study by choosingwisely.org in 2014, nearly 3 in 4 physicians said unnecessary tests and procedures represented a serious problem in the healthcare system. This study pointed out that providers can reduce unnecessary testing in some cases by spending more time talking to patients about their health needs. If a physician has not obtained enough information on a patient, he or she may believe the patient needs a test that is not necessary. Improved communication between patients and physicians can lead to a reduction in these unnecessary tests and that makes for a better patient experience.
Ultimately there are hundreds of ways in which your hospital can improve the patient experience to increase profitability. The judge and jury as to whether your changes have been a success are the patients themselves and for them to be able to provide feedback – you’ll need to invest patient survey technology. That’s where we come in. Here at HCXP – we live and breathe the patient experience. Our unique tablet-based electronic surveys allow your patients to provide direct feedback about every aspect of your hospital.
To learn more about our technology and to talk about improving the patient experience in your medical facility, contact us right now on 707.654.HCXP (4297)