Do you know how your patients and clients feel after a visit? Did they feel respected and that their needs were met? Did they feel a connection with staff and like their caregivers listened to and responded to their concerns? Was your facility itself a source of comfort and an inviting environment? If you don’t know the answer to these questions, or if you are just taking a haphazard guess, a look at your big picture data can help. Delving into using data to measure patient satisfaction and outcomes is a good place to start.
Using Data to Measure Patient Satisfaction and Outcomes
Think big data targets trends, not individual concerns. One patient who was unhappy enough to complain about the cold, noisy room on the third floor is just expressing an opinion. Big data allows you to see what the entire population of patients who use that room experienced. When you see that 80% of the people in that room rated it as uncomfortable, you can see that it is clearly impacting patient satisfaction — and come up with a plan to help.
Recent data analysis at the Cleveland Clinic revealed that patients had three primary concerns:
- happy, approachable providers
The results were a surprise to the team, who had previously, and erroneously assumed that their biggest issue was timeliness and patient waiting times. Careful analysis of the patient satisfaction data allowed the Clinic to take actionable steps that improved overall patient satisfaction.
Room to Grow
Analyzing data reveals more than just issues with satisfaction in patient care. It can let you know which things are being carried out correctly and help spot trends that can indicate both positive and negative movements in an organization. Are all of the hands-on staff getting rave reviews? Then you can tell your HR department that the on board training teams are hitting the mark. If you are consistently receiving low marks when it comes to patients feeling rushed in your facility, a look at the overall way you schedule and perform visits may be required.
Your patient satisfaction data, once collected, can reveal the items and operations that are working best for your facility and allow you to analyze why these departments are working. Faults or negatives revealed by patient satisfaction data can be used as valuable opportunity to improve. In many cases, a patient won’t be impacted enough to take the additional steps required to complain, but will be more likely to reveal their true opinion on an easy to complete survey. Once you’ve identified some key areas you’ll be better able to come up with custom designed strategies that suit your facility and your patients’ stated needs.
Don’t try to reinvent the wheel with custom strategies, though. Many other hospitals and healthcare facilities have done a lot to enhance patient experiences. Learn from their successes, and if possible their failures, too. It is always easier to glean knowledge from someone else’s mistakes rather than experiencing them for yourself.
Like the Cleveland Clinic, most facilities and teams have a built-in idea of what patient’s care is all about, but without careful analysis of patient satisfaction data, they cannot grasp the full understanding of the analyzed data. Abandoning preconceived notions about not only what your patients like, but about what they don’t is key to improving your patient satisfaction and overall outcome. Using data to measure patient satisfaction and outcomes removes any personal or privacy issues and reveals where you stand now with startling accuracy.
This may feel like you’re pushing aside feeling for the patients, yet in the long run, this style of understanding the whole picture for the patient will not only serve to improve each individual experience with healthcare professionals, but will do things like improve efficiencies in the system, lower the cost of care and ultimately improve the outcomes as patients are seen.
Big data analysis is the swiftest and easiest way to learn what your patients truly think and to avoid incorrectly assumptions that you’re excelling in some areas and falling short in other. Employing targeted surveys that address specific concerns can help you accurately gather patient data; if your current satisfaction survey is overly general or limited it may not yield the amount of information required. A fresh look at both your current reported data and the questions you are asking can help yield useful, actionable results that improve patient satisfaction at your facility. Thus, finding and using data to measure patient satisfaction and outcomes will provide answers no matter which side of the stethoscope you are on.
This isn’t all going to happen overnight, nor as quickly as many organizations would like, but healthcare as an industry has made great strides to not only find the technology to gather and analyze data but to also provide insights into better ways to handle and manage the large amount of data being collected on a daily basis that is completely unique to healthcare. Each of us will benefit from the advances that are made and the information that we are all contributing to the system.