As policymakers experiment to find a new formula to improve health care, one trend is to include patient satisfaction, in addition to clinical outcomes, as a method to measure quality of care.
However, in the early stages of this transition, many health care organizations are struggling to become “patient focused.”
New research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital offers a potential explanation — insufficient support from hospital management to improve the patient experience by engaging physicians and nurses in the process.
Changing hospital culture to improve interactions between the end-users (patients and providers) is a critical step in the evolution of health care.
“Twelve years after the Institute of Medicine’s Quality Chasm report called for fundamental improvement to patient-centered care, our findings raise concern as to whether hospital management is actively engaging clinicians in enhancing patient satisfaction,” said Ronen Rozenblum, Ph.D., M.P.H., lead author of the study.
The study is published in the current edition of British Medical Journal Quality and Safety.
The research findings are based on a survey of 1004 physicians and nurses at four academic hospitals in Denmark, Israel, the UK and the United States.
Results indicate that despite expanding initiatives, and the belief of most healthcare organizations that patient experience and satisfaction is important, the majority do not have a structured plan for how frontline providers can improve patient satisfaction during hospitalization.
Specifically researchers report that while 90.4 percent of clinicians surveyed believed improving patient satisfaction during hospitalization was achievable, only 9.2 percent of the clinicians said their department had a structured plan for improving patient satisfaction during hospitalization.
Additionally, researchers found that of the clinicians surveyed:
- 38 percent remembered targeted actions that were conducted in their department in order to improve patient satisfaction;
- 34 percent stated that during the last twelve months they had received feedback from hospital management regarding the level of patient satisfaction in their department;
- 85 percent thought hospital management should take a more active role in patient satisfaction improvement programs;
- 83 percent believed achieving high level of patient satisfaction was important for the clinical success of health care organizations.
“Organizations that are successful in fostering a culture of patient-centered care have incorporated it as a strategic investment priority by committed leadership, active measurement, feedback of patient satisfaction and engagement of patients and staff,” said David Bates, M.D., chief quality officer at BWH and senior author of the paper.
“We, in health care organizations, need to take a more active role in developing and implementing programs to improve patient experience and satisfaction and also in identifying ways to engage frontline clinicians in this process as well as ensuring they get routine feedback about patient experience and satisfaction. Ultimately, the patient experience is at the bedside.”
Now that this chasm has been identified and defined, Bates and Rozenblum are working to address it, they said. They created a framework for a patient experience culture and have begun to take the next steps to test and implement this structured patient satisfaction model.
Rozenblum said, “In order to improve, we need a systematic approach that starts at the bedside and grows up through hospital management levels to policy makers, all of whom should be committed to shifting healthcare organizations toward a culture of patient experience by making patient experience a strategic investment priority.”
Source: Brigham and Women’s Hospital