CLOSING THE SATISFACTION GAP

The healthcare industry in the U.S. is in the midst of a sea change: patients are gaining much more consumer power, and they want higher quality care, more convenient service, and lower costs.

Now, more than ever, creating a strong patient experience to satisfy consumers is vital to a provider’s survival. At MedStatix, we’ve been leading the way to improving the patient experience for the past three years by gathering insights from the people who matter most: the patients.

If you want to gauge how satisfied patients are with their healthcare experience, you might get very different answers depending on who you ask.

According to a new study commissioned by GE Healthcare Camden Group and Prophet, providers overestimate their overall quality of care by more than 20 percent. In fact, 81 percent of the patients surveyed reported being dissatisfied with their overall healthcare experience, and the happiest consumers were those who interact with the system the least.

That is an alarming number, yet according to the same study hospital CEO’s did not place patient satisfaction among their top five priorities. And as healthcare systems consolidate, it appears that patient satisfaction levels are actually getting worse, with a 3 percent decline between 2013 and 2014.

As the role of the patient shifts to that of consumer, patients are gaining more expectations for higher quality service, and providers, it seems, are struggling to keep up.

The study concludes that to survive the oncoming consolidation of healthcare systems, providers need to begin investing now in improving the patient experience. Doing so will drive increased capacity and access for consumers, drive down operating costs and improve the bottom line, improve employee satisfaction and retention, and improve brand and reputation, the study says.

At MedStatix, we’re working with providers who have realized the immense value of improving the patient experience. The actionable insights we gather from patients help providers and practices pinpoint areas where they can improve, which lead to real operational changes that help their bottom line.

Although the GE study paints a bleak picture of satisfaction with the overall healthcare system in the U.S., for the providers who use our patient experience platform, the numbers look quite different.

Current MedStatix data shows that our providers show steady improvement in key patient experience measurements, including patient loyalty, provider ratings and recommendability, communication with patients, and customer service. The result is an overall patient satisfaction score that averages at 94 percent for providers on our platform, and 93 percent of patients surveyed say they would recommend their practice.

There are several factors that account for such a large disparity between studies. Firstly, the GE/Prophet study did not ask patients about their experience with specific providers, only their overall healthcare experience. Moreover, providers who use the MedStatix platform to measure patient satisfaction are typically already leaders in improving the patient experience.

But most importantly, the insights that MedStatix gains from patients are extremely valuable for providers who want to streamline their experience and improve patient loyalty with real operational changes. In fact, the average provider in our database typically sees annual improvements of 10-15 percent in their loyalty score.

The first step to improving the patient experience is understanding that there is room for improvement, and that means listening to patients. The GE Healthcare Camden Group and Prophet study shows that providers may be out of touch with patients’ needs and expectations, and that could prove to become detrimental for some. MedStatix helps to bridge that gap between provider and patient to make sure that each practice is on the right path to improving the healthcare experience, delivering better care, and ultimately ensuring their own survival.