Patients rate doctors as they rate restaurants
Consider the CG-CAHPS surveys (Clinician and Group Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems). Administered through Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the CG-CAPHS is a standardized tool in rating a patient’s “experience” with a medical practice.
Surveys sent randomly to patients checkpoint a wide range of customer service issues—from ease of appointment, to how well the physicians and medical assistants communicated on everything from treatment to follow up. Critics say the rating system oversimplifies the complexities of healthcare, doesn’t include patient outcomes–and the reviews are based more on patient perceptions than reality.
CG-CAHPS is just one factor in the survey equation. UnitedHealthcare now posts Healthgrades’ Patient Satisfaction Scores for each physician. Attempts by government agencies, health plans and managed care entities to place feedback into the hands of consumers poses challenges for physicians. Consider another harsh reality: Patients can publish reviews on physicians and their staff as they publish restaurant reviews on Yelp and Google.
IMPROVE PATIENT PERCEPTIONS OF THE PATIENT EXPERIENCE
Behind every service issue ultimately affecting the outcome of a patient’s experience is a breakdown in communications.
What are common threads shared among physician groups with not-so-good rating and reviews?
ESTABLISH PROTOCOL, TRAIN PHYSICIANS & STAFF
1) No protocol, service recovery steps, or a complete patient communication plan were in place for a host of service situations. Issues may include: communication on handling out-of-network inquiries; staff communication about services or providers; provider communication over follow up; and key issues related to waiting times.
2) Physicians, physician extenders & medical assistants were not trained in patient service and patient communications.
3) Perception is reality with the healthcare consumer. And many times, a bad patient experience begins at the front desk—where a patient care coordinator lacked the humanistic skills to show reassurance and truly connect with patients.
ORDER A PIZZA
“Order a Pizza” is now part of that OB/GYN’s clinic’s protocol for dealing with long patient waits.
If you are interested in learning more about:
- Developing a customized protocol for managing patient communications;
- Training your staff; and equipping your providers with patient communication tools.
Contact us at www.dotihealthcare@com
Irene Doti, CEO