The Culture of an Organization Drives Patient Experience and Satisfaction
November 2, 2012 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care
The culture of physician practices and other healthcare organizations, or “how people do things around here,” drives the patient experience and resulting patient satisfaction scores, said Kristin Baird, RN, B.S.N., M.H.A., consultant, Baird Group (Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin), speaking on October 22, 2012, at the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas. In light of trends such as more informed patients who have high expectations for their care, the increased use of social media for patients to disseminate information about their satisfaction with care (e.g., patients posting information on social media websites about wait times in physician offices), and the increase in public reporting initiatives related to patient satisfaction scores, all healthcare organizations should take steps to improve patient satisfaction. Some tactics provided by Baird for delivering a consistently positive patient experience include determining whether all employees know what is expected, know how to do what is expected, and want to do what is expected; setting standards (e.g., the organization will create a welcoming environment) that are behavior based, that have clear expectations, and that are incorporated into job descriptions and performance appraisals; and providing employees with the tools (e.g., training, modeling, troubleshooting assistance during difficult situations) to improve from a customer service perspective. In addition, everyone in the organization should be held accountable for meeting customer service standards, and physicians should be engaged in the process, such as by aligning the physician’s code of conduct with customer service standards.