Happy Customers Mean Great Bottom-line
Just about every healthcare institution in the US currently conducts some sort of patient satisfaction survey. For hospitals the most respected and widely known is the Press Ganey Survey but there are several others available, and hyperbolic claims often ignore differences in survey instruments.
The federal government is requiring hospitals to participate in, and report their scores on, a survey called Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS).
The HCAHPS is a standardized survey measuring patients' impressions of their hospital stay. The HCAHPS survey contains 18 patient perspectives on care. Patients are asked to rate items that encompass eight key topics: communication with doctors, communication with nurses, responsiveness of hospital staff (including laboratorians), pain management(TAT for labs will impact this item as well), communication about medicines, discharge information, cleanliness of the hospital environment, and quietness of the hospital
This is designed to be an "apples to apples" comparison of hospitals and the data will be made public for consumers to use as part of their decision-making process regarding a hospital of choice. Additionally the federal government which is the largest healthcare payer will be using HCAHPS data to reimburse hospitals. Rather than getting extra reimbursement for good scores, hospitals will be penalized for low scores. Therefore there is a real financial incentive to score well.
So many organizations come up with complicated mission and vision statements. They also adopt lots of quality measures behind the scenes; most transparent to the patient. We sometimes lose sight of why we routinely perform procedures like calibration, maintenance, use of quality control, result verification and the like. They are not merely to avoid law suits or meet CAP standards; but ultimately to provide the best care possible.
But we cannot arbitrarily decide what "best care" is. Patients must have an input since satisfaction is always from the perspective of the customers we serve.
I was in the grocery store yesterday and standing in line I saw a huge sign with the chain's simple mission statement "We have to anticipate and react to the expectations of our current and prospective customers in order to be successful." Isn't that simple, and true??
Patients have a choice. Patients have access to much more information than they used to. They know what options they have. They can easily find out how your lab compares to the guys down the street in terms of patient satisfaction.
Our customers are also varied-everyone who uses our services, as well as everyone who helps us to provide that service is a customer- and every customer is important.
Our job is to anticipate and react to the needs, expectations and stated priorities of our customers-doctors, nurses, patients-and employees. How effectively we do this determines how healthy our bottom line will be.