Why Patient Satisfaction in Surgery is Critical
How can you measure and improve on the all-important metric of patient satisfaction in surgery?
Patient satisfaction is an important consideration for any medical practice. But it’s particularly critical when it comes to surgery. After all, when patients are satisfied with their care, they’re more likely to return in the future and recommend your practice to others. Yet a recent study found that in the U.S., only 30% of patients are satisfied with the current health system.
If you’re not achieving the levels of patient satisfaction necessary to grow your practice, it may be time to take a closer look at your strategy.
- Patient satisfaction measures how much the service matched your patient’s expectations and is typically measured through surveys.
- Patient satisfaction impacts every aspect of your practice, so it’s a vital metric used as a proxy to measure your surgery practice’s success.
- The top three ways to improve patient satisfaction are by improving communication, managing patient expectations, and tailoring care.
What is Patient Satisfaction?
Patient satisfaction is a measure of the extent to which a patient’s expectations were met. In short, were they happy with the healthcare you provided?
“Patient experience” is sometimes used interchangeably with “patient satisfaction” — but there’s a difference between the two. Patient experience compares what should have happened during a patient’s appointment with what really happened, while patient satisfaction is concerned with how closely patient expectations match reality.
Patient satisfaction is used as a proxy to measure the success of your surgical practice. But while having satisfied patients helps improve healthcare revenue, many practices aren’t measuring it closely enough to realize its full impact.
How Do We Measure Patient Satisfaction?
To measure patient satisfaction, most practices use surveys. In surveys, patients are asked to evaluate their experiences with their provider and with the practice.
Surveys can be a valuable tool for any surgical practice. They can be used to provide feedback to physicians, nurses, and staff to improve the quality of medical care. They are used to help determine how patients are receiving care and whether it’s meeting their expectations.
In our increasingly digital age, patient satisfaction surveys are often provided online, allowing patients to complete them on a device of their choosing at their own convenience. This helps to streamline the feedback process and make the information instantly and readily available without the need for a member of staff to spend valuable time on data input. It also reduces the need for paper surveys that could go missing in a patient folder never to be seen again.
Satisfaction should be measured in two ways: transactional and relationship. Transactional refers to a specific experience. For example, you may send out a transactional survey after a call with the scheduler or right after an office visit. Those surveys let you know about what went well or did not go well during a specific visit and provide valuable insight regarding potential opportunities to improve.
Relationship surveys are done typically on a yearly or semi-annual basis. As opposed to a specific engagement, this survey can help you identify the overall perception the patient has of engaging with you and can be used to identify the most important elements of the relationship with the patient.
Why is Patient Satisfaction in Surgery Important?
Patient satisfaction is a critical factor across the whole health care industry. It can affect the overall perception of the quality of care your patient receives, which affects the patient’s decision to return to your practice or recommend it to others.
High patient satisfaction is associated with:
- Stronger medical outcomes
- Improved surgical reputation
- Decreased risk of malpractice claims
- Stronger patient loyalty
- Higher patient retention
- Improved patient compliance
- Better revenue consistency
- Less practice vulnerability to price wars
- Higher staff morale
- Higher professional satisfaction
- Better accreditation
In fact, it’s difficult to find an aspect of your practice that patient satisfaction doesn’t impact. That’s why patient satisfaction is so frequently used as a measure of a surgical practice’s overall success.
Analyzing patient satisfaction will help you identify areas of improvement and communicate to patients that you care about their feedback.
3 Ways to Improve Patient Satisfaction
Knowing how important satisfied patients are to a practice’s success, it’s vital to be continually measuring and assessing your patient satisfaction levels. Your patients’ feedback will direct you to the areas of your practice most in need of improvement. But in general, patient dissatisfaction tends to stem from one of three main areas: poor communication, poorly managed expectations, and impersonal or one-size-fits-all care plans.
Here are three main ways to improve patient satisfaction:
1. Better Communication
Clear communication between you and your patients is vital to achieving high patient satisfaction. Patient, jargon-free explanations are one important element of good communication, but patients also want to feel heard and understood in turn. Be sure to allow ample time to answer all their questions and provide a clear point of contact should any others arise, so patients feel valued and respected.
In the video below, Samir M. Fakhry (MD, FACS) discusses a Journal of the American College of Surgeons study concerning how good communication helps trauma surgeons positively impact patient satisfaction.
2. Manage Patient Expectations
As discussed, patient satisfaction is based on patients having their expectations met. That’s why it’s so important to manage their expectations early.
Expectations can be set through good communication, but patient activation can also play a significant role here. By making your patients partners in their own health care journey, they can better participate in decision making and are more likely to feel empowered throughout the process. This prompts them to ask more questions and express their concerns to gain a clearer understanding of their care.
3. Personalize Care
Personalized care is one of the most effective ways to improve patient satisfaction in surgery. Patients are more likely to feel highly satisfied if they feel that their care was tailored to their specific needs.
In the era of value-based medicine, practices need to develop a more personal relationship with their patients. This is especially true in the field of surgery. After all, it’s only by understanding the patient situation that providers can help patients achieve the best possible outcomes. By creating a personalized care plan, you can ensure that the treatment is specific to the patient’s needs, resulting in better health outcomes and an exceptional patient experience.
Wellbe’s Personalized Automation
Wellbe offers personalized automation solutions that can help you boost patient satisfaction in your surgery practice. With an 88% patient satisfaction rate, Wellbe’s solutions help streamline and customize the patient journey to create a smoother experience for both patients and staff.
Contact Wellbe today to learn how personalized care automation can improve your patient satisfaction and help grow your practice.