Nursing

Expert spotlight: Spot patient and consumer expectations in the ED

Nurse Leader Insider, September 8, 2008

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This week, expert Brandon G. Bennett, MSN, RN, provides some advice on how to identify patient and consumer expectations in the ED.

Q: How can I identify my patients' and consumers' expectations about the service and care they receive in the ED?

A: The care and services delivered at a facility can be significantly improved if you know what your customers want. Some ways nurse managers can identify patient and consumer expectations are with survey tools, focus groups, market evaluation, and candid discussions with patients.

Survey tools can provide helpful feedback. For example, patient surveys not only elicit invaluable patient input, but also offer patients an opportunity to share their experiences and opinions anonymously. Some departments focus patient surveys on specific consumer populations. For example, physician consumers—or community-based providers who refer their patients to the emergency department—are provided with surveys to fill out in order to obtain another view of the quality and effectiveness of the service provided by the emergency department.

Focus groups are a great way to gain information and insight about patients' perceptions of the department you run. Typically, focus groups involve community representatives (e.g., past patients, physician consumers) and managers and are run by dynamic professionals with leadership skills. Keep in mind that information collected in focus groups can be very useful for the department's marketing efforts.

Editor's note: Do you have a question for our experts? Email your queries to editor kmucci@hcpro.com and see your name in print next week! In the meantime, head over to our Web site and view a growing collection of advice from our experts.



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