What we need to do improve patient satisfaction, improve quality or cost? There are various researches done on this topic to find out the right cause. The healthcare analytics vary in opinions about this.
Published on Feb 13, 2012 in the Archives of Internal Medicine, by Joshua Fenton, an article, PATIENT SATISFACTION LINKED TO HIGHER HEALTHCARE EXPENSES AND MORTALITY, which described a study conducted by a team of UC Davis researchers, Sacramento, Ca. "Patients should be satisfied with their physicians, but ideally it's because their physicians guide them toward the best care and not merely because their physicians provide tests or treatments that may do more harm than good," said Fenton.
In another article by Bhanu Prakash
, in the Sep-Dec 2010 archive of PMC, “PATIENT SATISFACTION” comments, Patient satisfaction is an important and commonly used indicator for measuring the quality in health care. Patient satisfaction affects clinical outcomes, patient retention, and medical malpractice claims. It affects the timely, efficient, and patient-centered delivery of quality health care. Patient satisfaction is thus a proxy but a very effective indicator to measure the success of doctors and hospitals”.
There are certain ways and strategies by which we can improve patient satisfaction as suggested by Parakash (2010) which are deduced by the study conclusion:
1. Improved patient retention - according to the Technical Assistant Research Programs (TARPs), if we satisfy one customer, the information reaches four others. So, if we annoy one customer, we will have to satisfy three other patients just to stay even. “Change the reference number.”
2. They are less vulnerable to price wars. There is sufficient evidence to prove that organizations with high customer loyalty can command a higher price without losing their profit or market share. In fact, in a study conducted in no-for-profit Hospitals of America, nearly 70% of patients were willing to pay more money if they had to consult a quality physician of their choice.
3. Increased staff morale with reduced staff turnover also leads to increased productivity
4. Reduced risk of malpractice suits – an inverse correlation has been reported for patient satisfaction rates and medical malpractice suits (Poulas, Brodell, Mostow, (2010).
5. Accreditation issues – it is now universally accepted that various accreditation agencies like International Organization for Standardization (ISO), National Accreditation Board for Hospitals (NABH), Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), etc., all focus on quality service issues (JCAHO Manual, 1992.)
6. Increased personal and professional satisfaction - patients who improve with our care definitely make us happier (Foot, 2003). The happier the doctor, the happier will be the patients.
7. Doctors may agree to patient requests for services to increase patient satisfaction