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Healthcare Marketing: Doctors and Staff are Key to Patient Satisfaction in Hospital Care

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

customer satisfaction ratingIt seems that the nation’s hospitals have lifted their patient satisfaction scores, according to a recent survey. Kudos to the hospitals, with the doctors and staff deserving a healthcare marketing salute as well.

Data from nearly 3,800 hospitals says that there’s been a 1.6 percent annual increase in the number of positive responses in the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey.

The findings are from HealthGrades, which looked at HCAHPS survey data from April 2009 to March 2010. Patients were most satisfied with the discharge instructions; 81 percent of respondents said they received this information. And patients were least satisfied with the quietness of their rooms (55 percent satisfied) and explanation of medications (58 percent satisfied).

Our point here is that patient satisfaction is a people-to-people thing. A hospital is an organization of people, and satisfaction scores are a reflection of the interactions among the patient, doctors and staff. For example, among the findings comparing the top performing hospitals to the bottom 10 percent of hospitals for patient satisfaction:

  • 34 percent more patients responded that they always received help from staff quickly.
  • 24 percent more patients reported that the staff always explained their medications to them prior to administering them.

And, as a result, the higher scoring hospitals are likely to win patient referrals, with 45 percent more patients saying that they would definitely recommend the hospital to their family or friends.

What’s the best way for a hospital and healthcare marketing program to communicate this information to the community at large?

All too often we see a hospital or healthcare organization point with pride to an award or recognition. Although the institution should indeed be pleased with the positive accomplishments, the greater value is in telling the story in people-to-people terms. Behind the plaque on the wall:

  • Is there an opportunity to spotlight the work of a physician, surgeon or hospital department team members?
  • Is there a patient or patient family testimonial story?
  • What is the compelling human interest or feature story to be told?
  • How can doctors and/or staff be recognized with your internal audience?

There’s more here about HealthGrades and the patient experience survey. And if you’d like to talk with us about improving the patient experience and maximizing the story about your hospital, medical group or healthcare organization, contact us here. It’s a no-obligation consultation, and we think you'll be satisfied.

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