Today’s patient is an inquisitive patient.

 

Patient has become a healthcare consumer with demands similar to any other service industry consumer.  Knowledge and understanding of the needs of patients and their families now is more crucial than ever in providing exceptional patient service.

 

Patient satisfaction depends on the service provider’s performance in specific areas of service which fulfills patients’ expectations. This could be medical expertise of the doctor, modern equipments & procedures, personal care about patient’s physical and emotional needs, comfortable stay and communication with the patient and its relatives.

Patient demands to know about the availability of low cost drugs, reasons for the costly investigations and the protocol of his disease management. There is increasing media awareness among patients about the medical malpractices. Internet has become the mode for doing “Self Diagnosis”.

The patient has evolved as a Healthcare Consumer. He is not just an individual in a diseased state.1

So the selection of a healthcare provider or a hospital has become more experience-based than outcome-based.

Hence, to provide patient satisfaction, healthcare is taking a transition from a “Disease- centric” to a Patient – centric” approach.

Berry et al (2006) describe three elements of a consumer’s experience with a service provider: functional, mechanical and humanic.

Functional issue is technical expertise of the healthcare provider. It is the domain knowledge which is acquired by the medical professional.

Mechanical issues are generally sensory in nature and are helpful for creating first impression. This could be clean environment of the hospital, latest equipments, uniform of the staff and even the color of the patient’s room.

Lasting attitudes and opportunities for differentiation are found in the humanic area. These are issues related to the patient’s emotional preferences and needs.

This would ultimately help in winning patient loyalty, which indicates commitment to consult a particular medical service provider.

Patient satisfaction directly impacts profitability. It has been stated that the most profitable hospitals are those that best satisfy their patients.2

Patient satisfaction can allow hospitals to cut down on medical procedure cancellations, increase loyalty and referrals, improve medication adherence rates that can lead to patient safety.

One of the key solutions that can help to improve Patient Satisfaction is “Effective & Empathetic” communication with the patient. This would extend the understanding of the patient beyond the history and symptoms to include values, ideas, beliefs, feelings and concerns.

 

  1. Dr. Shalini Ratan. “Clinicians to Practice Managers: A Shift is Mindset”, Modern Medicare, October, 2012.
  2. Return on investment: increasing profitability by improving patient satisfaction.” Press Ganey Associates, Inc. 2008.