According to a study conducted by researchers in the Department of Psychology at the University of Basel and Harvard Medical School, trust in doctors can lead to higher patient satisfaction. The article notes that Trust had “a positive effect on the satisfaction, health-related behavior, quality of life and subjectively perceived complaints of those being treated.”
Essentially, a patient’s trust in the care giver reduced patient complaints, improved patient compliance with provider instructions, and overall improved patient satisfaction. In other words, two patients could have had the same clinical care provided, but if one of the patients trusted their physician more, then that patient’s attitude and actions improved.
There are may aspects of customer service that impact Trust. For example, one employee can “build up” another employee in front of the customer such as “Jennifer has been a nurse for 8 years on this unit, and she’s cared for and helped many get through a similar situation to yours.” That statement builds credibility, which adds to patient trust.
When you’re trying to build the patient’s trust, every “Moment of Truth” can be a moment of trust-building:
- Focus on the patient, making positive eye contact and repeating back what they told you to convey you’re listening and that you understand.
- Take immediate action whenever possible to ensure they see you acting on commitments.
- Tell the patient and their family what you have done so it confirms in their mind your trustworthiness.
- Respect and maintain the confidentiality of what they say and their personal information.
If Trust can drive down complaints and drive up satisfaction (as well as strengthen patient compliance), use these key customer service skills to improve the patient experience.
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What drives a great patient experience? Well according to a study of General Practitioners offices, the receptionist has a significant impact on patient satisfaction. How? Let me count the ways…
The survey noted that “helpfulness of the receptionist, along with communication with the doctor, is the most important driver for satisfaction among UK patients.” The research also noted that “The researchers found that practices where more patients had to push conversations forward because of poor communication by receptionists had lower patient satisfaction scores”.
This paints an interesting and far too typical picture of the gatekeeper – those “first impression” individuals in healthcare. Too many react to the question, giving the one standard response. They are taught what to do to move the caller along without thinking about what can be done to remove the patient’s burden of having to determine how to get the best answers or care.
The patient shouldn’t have to drive the conversation, ask all the questions to learn how to navigate the provider’s processes. The staff need to ask enough of the right questions to specifically help or direct the patient to the best course of action.
“In the more effective calls, receptionists made alternative offers and summarised patients’ appointments or confirmed what would happen next.”
The gatekeeper should push the conversation forward instead of expecting the patient to do so themselves.
Make your gatekeepers great at asking questions to best help the patient get their need met right the first time, and watch your patient satisfaction rise.
For information on how to improve patient satisfaction, visit http://cssamerica.com/healthcare/
In the article Hospital shows improved patient satisfaction, the author highlights a hospital that is using key strategies to drive up patient satisfaction. And in hearing Ivision Memorial Hospital leaders describe the approach, one starts to draw conclusions. Here are some quotes:
What we do is we get a group of people from all aspects related to that process, get them in a room for four days and really give them the leeway to fix the problem.
We’re firm believers that the people who know the work are the best ones to fix it.
Next year’s score card goals are set to change, some of which are based on staff suggestions.
What we’re really going to push in this next year is something we call our bright idea program. The idea is that we give staff a way to improve their work.
Did you catch the theme? The CEO and Chief Quality and Strategy Officer are constantly talking about using the voice of the employee to drive improvements. Whether it be on an improvement team or through an employee suggestion system, the best ideas to improve the patient experience are coming from those closest to the patient on a daily basis.
Leaders must chart the vision and set the strategy in most organizations, but the employees are the ones often with the best ideas on how to execute the ideas and improve patient satisfaction.
Create a patient satisfaction improvement strategy where the employee’s voice rises up for the benefit of the patient.
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