PATIENT SATISFACTION WITH THE HEALTH CARE Health Care Health care is the prevention, treatment, and management of illness and the preservation of mental and physical well-being through the services offered by the medical, nursing, and allied health professions. The organised provision of such services may constitute a health care system. Patient Satisfaction Employee satisfaction and retention have always been important issues for physicians. Satisfied employees tend to be more productive, creative and committed to their employers, and recent studies have shown a direct correlation between staff satisfaction and patient satisfaction. Family physicians who can create work environments that attract, motivate and retain hard-working individuals will be better positioned to succeed in a competitive health care environment that demands quality and cost-efficiency. What's more, physicians may even discover that by creating a positive workplace for their employees, they've increased their own job satisfaction as well. How measurement began? Beginning in 1996, Hewitt Associates, the international management consulting firm, began to develop an extensive health plan database: the Hewitt Health Value Initiative. The database includes health plans' responses to an extensive questionnaire about operations, quality-improvement programs, provider contracting, and other activities. The survey has been conducted annually since 1996 and contains responses from over 500 plans. Why Patient Satisfaction? How Important? Without acceptable levels of patient satisfaction, health plans may not get full accreditation and will lack the competitive edge enjoyed by fully accredited plans. Most MCOs now undergo some kind of formal accreditation, and therefore measure satisfaction. Results of a Questionnaire Five Ways To Satisfy Patients, In Less Time Find out about your patient’s needs first; Be prepared; Put it in writing; Minimize interruptions; Help patients create relationships with your support staff; Strategies for Communicating with Patients Introduce yourself and your role at each encounter. Try to determine the need behind repeated questions or statements. Let your patient know that you are changing the subject. “Now let’s talk about….” Don’t interrupt. Avoid figurative terms that patients may interpret literally. For example, “We’re ready to take you to the floor now.” Align your facial expression and your message. Don’t frown as you say “You’re daughter’s come to visit.” (Unless that’s a bad thing of course!) Avoid quick movements that may frighten or upset your patient. Don’t patronize. Understand and acknowledge frustration. Use your patient’s name. Use appropriate touch to gain your patient’s attention. Face your patient when you are speaking to him/her. You can startle anyone when your first words are from behind a person. Ask your patient to do one thing at a time, as opposed to two or three things. Don’t say “Take off your shoes and shirt and then sit on the examining table.” Thank your patient for talking with you. How To Inspire Trust? Keep your promises. Use appropriate touch. Put yourself in your patient’s place. Protect patient confidentiality. Provide orientation for new patients. Find out what your patient needs first. Be conspicuously obvious about following standard precautions. How To Encourage Patient Follow-Through? Give instructions in writing. Have others in your organization reinforce your message. Let your patient know what to expect if he doesn’t follow the agreed-upon treatment plan. Give your patient a log or ask him to keep a diary to record his progress. THE END… Questions?
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