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To Build Patient Engagement, Start By Measuring Satisfaction

by Kim Ireland, CEO, MedStatix

Just about everyone has a story to tell about a bad healthcare experience. Personally, I’ve had more than my fair share of bad experiences, one of which landed me in the hospital for a week. When it comes to care that’s patient-centered and compassionate, the general consensus is: We can do better.

Right now, a consumer revolution is underway in U.S. healthcare. As patients gain more and more information about their healthcare choices, they’re gaining more power to choose providers that deliver the best care. And as reimbursement models focus more on quality of care and the patient experience, patient satisfaction could determine which practices survive and which ones fail. 

At MedStatix, we’ve been helping providers navigate this necessary shift in healthcare to help create a better healthcare experience for everyone. Now, we’re pleased to announce that MedStatix is partnering with athenahealth to deliver patient insights in athenaCommunicator, making better patient engagement possible.

For the past three years, MedStatix has been a leader in patient satisfaction data that help providers make meaningful improvement to care. We’ll be offering some of those insights, like our patient satisfaction score, to athenaOne clients at no additional cost.


If you doubt that the patient experience is in need of improvement, consider this: according to research, 81 percent of patients report being unsatisfied with their overall healthcare experience, while providers overestimate patients’ perception of care by more than 20 percent.

Sometimes, patients don’t always know what’s best for their health, and getting them on the road to recovery can require tough choices that conflict with what the patient wants. That may be the reason patient satisfaction has been mostly overlooked in healthcare until recently.

But creating a great experience with patient-centered care can have benefits well beyond a practice’s bottom line. Numerous studies show that positive patient perceptions of care quality are related to better health outcomes, lower readmission rates, patient activation for better adherence to treatments, and improved doctor/patient relationships.

Studies also show that patient satisfaction can have profound effects on a practice’s financial health. Unsatisfied patients are less likely to pay their bills on time, are less loyal, and are less likely to recommend a practice to a friend or family member. Each 10-point drop on the patient satisfaction scale can result in 50 additional patients in collections for bill payments. And for every 10-15 percent decrease in patient loyalty, providers can lose between $100,000 and $300,000 per year.

Moreover, practices with low satisfaction scores are at greater risk of malpractice suits. With every 5-point drop on the satisfaction scale there is a 21.7 percent increase in the likelihood of being named in a malpractice suit.

So how can providers make their patients happy in a meaningful way that improves the quality of care? The first step is to begin listening to patients. An honest request for feedback can go a long way, and it can give you the insights you need to make important enhancements to operations, patient/doctor communications, and health outcomes.

The MedStatix patient experience platform is a powerful tool for getting the useful feedback you need. Our mobile-based survey system delivers questionnaires designed by doctors immediately after a visit and gets a response rate of more than 40 percent—far above the industry average. Both quantitative and qualitative patient data are delivered in easy-to-understand metrics that can help identify pain points within your practice. Those metrics can then be compared with other practices to see how well you compete. The platform also helps to encourage transparency and trust by allowing you to publish your satisfaction scores for patients to see.

From our continuously growing pool of patient data, with more than 300,000 surveys completed, we can already pinpoint key areas that have the biggest impact on patient satisfaction and the success of a practice. Providers who use our platform have learned that short wait times, strong doctor/patient communication, and easy-to-use patient portals that make paying bills or scheduling an appointment easy have huge impacts on patient perceptions.

These insights can help you go far beyond superficial improvements to make your doctors better communicators and your practice more efficient.  It can also encourage higher patient engagement, which in turn can improve outcomes. 

It’s time we begin to focus more on the patient in the way we deliver care. If you’re an athenaOne client and you’d like to learn more about the impact of patient satisfaction and how patient feedback can help you make real improvements to delivering compassionate care, join us in our client webinar on May 18thRegister here.

For more about MedStatix and our client partnership offerings, visit us on the athenahealth Marketplace.

 



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