66% of Healthcare Leaders Agree Patient Experience is Most Critical in the ED

Press Releases, August 14, 2014

66% of Healthcare Leaders Agree Patient Experience is Most Critical in the ED
New HealthLeaders Media survey reveals the latest strategies for delivering patient value, and where satisfaction still lacks

Brentwood, TN. – August 14, 2014 – 
Two of the most important elements affecting the financial health of a hospital are the issues surrounding the patient experience and communications. Today’s healthcare leaders are as devoted to improving satisfaction as they are to clinical quality and safety, with the expectation that doing so will improve outcomes. Additionally, organizations that better engage patients today will be ready for a future where patients are care-team members.

A new independent HealthLeaders Media Premium report, Patient Experience Transformation: Engaged Patients, Measurable Standards, supported by TeamHealth, explores how leading organizations are applying rigor to patient experience reporting and refocusing efforts on patient values. The report includes data from a survey of the 7,000-member HealthLeaders Media Council, along with a new segmentation tool that allows access to specific data based on setting, revenue, and more. The free version can be downloaded at healthleadersmedia.com/intelligence.

The push to improve satisfaction is pervasive. 92% of the respondents to the survey list patient satisfaction as part of their organization’s patient experience initiative, considering it is an important path to better HCAHPS scores and directly related to reimbursement for services.

The HCAHPS survey was identified as the top method to track and measure the patient experience, but ED-CAHPS is becoming an increasingly popular measuring tool, indicating the continuing importance of the emergency department as the front door to the hospital and the first impression of the patient experience.

“With the Accountable Care Act, many believe that even more people may be accessing emergency departments in some geographic areas, adding more incentive for hospital leaders to increase the focus on their EDs as a path to growing inpatient volumes and improving the patient experience,” says TeamHealth CEO Greg Roth. “The ED-CAHPS scores will continue to increase in importance.”

In addition to improving scores, healthcare leaders acknowledge the ultimate objective of patient experience efforts is to improve clinical outcomes and the caliber of care, and to cultivate relationships with patients.

“Everybody understands that patient experience is a piece of how we’re going to get paid. But I think we’re moving beyond [considering it something] we have to do because somebody outside is looking at it, or because we are paid on the basis of it. Now the perspective is that we have to get patient experience right because it’s the best way to deliver great care,” says Mary Anna Sullivan, MD, chief medical officer for Lahey Health Behavioral Services and chief quality and safety officer at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center in Burlington, Massachusetts.

Healthcare leaders expect that technology can contribute to patient engagement. The top two future patient experience infrastructure improvements are connecting patients with hospital medical records (60%) and on-line access to appointments and prescriptions (58%).

In support of these investments, Sullivan says, “Automated ways for patients to be able to interact with their healthcare system about appointments, prescriptions, or lab results are some of the ways to engage the patient in real time. That real-time engagement drives a better experience for patients.”

These initiatives are not without their challenges. 32% of respondents say that difficulty changing culture is their biggest patient experience stumbling block. At the same time, 82% agree completely that they must adopt a culture guided by patient needs for progress in patient experience.

Morris H. Seligman, MD, MBA, CPE, FACP, FACHE, senior vice president and chief medical officer for Mountain States Health Alliance, outlines his five keys to developing a patient-experience-focused culture: top-level involvement, job candidate scrutiny, communication, empowerment, and patience.

Other compelling statistics from the report include:

  • Two-thirds (65%) agree completely that a commitment to patient experience will result in better quality, safety, clinical outcomes, and value to the patient.
  • Despite the importance of delivering what the patient values, only one-third (30%) of respondents are focused on instituting systems to learn patient needs.
  • Nearly half (48%) say outpatient visits are a top-three area for patient experience score improvement.
  • A majority (57%) now use post-discharge phone calls (up from 48% in 2013) to gauge patient experience and health status.

The report, available for purchase at http://hcmarketplace.com/patient-experience-transformation-premium, includes data segmentation, meeting guides, and three case studies featuring initiatives by Lahey Health, Mountain States Health Alliance, and University of Cincinnati Medical Center; and the Buying Power version, available for purchase at http://hcmarketplace.com/Patient-Experience-Transformation-buying-power, is designed for healthcare industry suppliers and includes detailed drill-down data on purchasing trends and projections to aid sales strategies.

HealthLeaders Media

HealthLeaders Media, a division of BLR, is a leading multi-platform media company dedicated to meeting the business information needs of healthcare executives and professionals. As an integrated media company, HealthLeaders Media includes HealthLeaders magazine, HealthLeadersMedia.com, the HealthLeaders Media Intelligence Unit, HealthLeaders Media LIVE events, and California HealthFax. All these platforms may be found online at www.healthleadersmedia.com.