Improve Communication to Boost Patient Satisfaction

The Wall Street Journal this month wrote about how hospitals are trying to improve patient satisfaction scores by changing up menus and upgrading patient rooms with flat-screen TVs. While improved amenities are nice, its the improved patient communication strategies that are more likely to have a bigger impact on patient scores:

"Nurses must now make rounds to patients’ rooms every hour, instead of every two hours, to help patients use the bathroom and reposition them to prevent bedsores… Doctors have been instructed to stop talking to patients while standing over them in bed. Instead, they are encouraged to pull up a chair so they are at eye level."

Linda Ireland at Business Insider writes from the patient’s point of view on patient experience, saying there are 3 ways docs can easily improve:

  1. Discover the need to be solved from the patient’s point of view.
    Physicians should ask: "What do you hope happens as a result of coming to see me today?"
  2. Knowledge is power – use it with your patients.
    Don’t make them repeat information they’ve already given someone and believe you should have.
  3. Collaborate for the benefit of the patient.
    Doctors need to be good listeners and excellent translators, communicating with patients as part of a single, broad care team – regardless of the contractual boundaries of the physician’s practice.

Communication is key to all of these changes, and Jason Wolf, executive director of The Beryl Institute, writes on Hospital Impact: "The greatest opportunity we have in impacting and improving the patient experience is by knowing not only how we are doing, but also what really matters to patients and their families. It all starts with a brave willingness to ask."

If your hospital is ready to engage patients, ask questions and track the gains from your experience improvements, explore the Patient Guidance System from

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