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Increasing Patient Satisfaction Using BI

Family doctor build loyalty with patients one every visit. They build knowledge on the patient, recording patient health and preferences.

This type of insight intelligence is gathered, stored, processed and shared amongst health providers to ensure a consistent measure of care on a patient by patient basis. This use of business intelligence is focused on both ensuring optimal healtcare for the patient as well as patient satisfaction.

As a doctor walks a patient through a sequence of events for treatment, they include specialist consultations, exploratory tests, overnight hospital stays, post surgical care and patient education.

At each stage of this treatment, more information is given to the patient as to what to expect and why, as well as any preparatory measures the patient must take for the next stage.

This level of care, and patient satisfaction requires integrated health delivery across multiple health organizations and extensive use of data analysis.

Patient satisfaction is woven into all patient services - clinical, operational, financial and personal.


Analytical Support For Patient Intelligence

The high-level view of analytical support for patient intelligence is important in terms of the benefits that accrue to the various health organizations.

Patient satisfaction data is used in quality, regulatory and pay-for-performance contract reporting. Satisfaction metrics are also embedded into marketing messages, risk management practices, operational processes and everyday clinical care delivery.

Defining and Measuring Patient Satisfaction

Patient satisfaction extends beyond standard customer satisfaction

Licensing and professional restrictions placed on healthcare providers ensure that they must first consider patient needs before patient wants.

Financial rules from payers, purchasers and patients - in a fee-for-service provider situation, additional charges for additional tests or treatments may be denied by the patient’s insurance plan. In a capitation model, this additional event comes out of the provider’s bottom line.

Patient satisfaction identifies patient-centeredness as one of the six ingredients of quality healthcare:

  1. Empathy and responsiveness to needs/preferences
  2. Involvement and respect
  3. Information, communication and education
  4. Emotional support and physical comfort
  5. Value and transparency
  6. Meeting expectations

Patient satisfaction is very patient centric. Involving patients in choice and delivery of their care increases satisfaction, loyalty, cooperation and respect.

Patient Satisfaction Measures

Common satisfaction measures were summed up in a recent study by DrScore and included:

  • Accessibility – both physical access and financial access to care.
  • Communication skills – of the doctors, nurses, PAs, NPs and others involved in direct patient care.
  • Personality and demeanor – of the same group.
  • Quality of medical-care processes – as provided directly to the patient.
  • Care continuity – regarding the handoffs made provider-to-provider, as well as across time.
  • Quality of healthcare facilities – in terms of having the appropriate equipment, supplies and peripheral resources available.
  • Efficiency of office staff – in handling scheduling, billing, etc.

Patient satisfaction relies on providers going beyond the mechanical delivery of medical care to the delivery of a true health service.

Benefits of Patient Satisfaction

The benefits of patient satisfaction extends to virtually every corner of the healthcare organization. With greater patient satisfaction comes:

Clinical Benefits

  • Greater patient trust and acceptance with treatment plans.
  • Increasing buy-in for treatment plans more quickly, making best use of scarce physician time.
  • Increasing trust, which allows physician to discover more factors that may affect the care needs of the patient.
  • Enhancing patient involvement in their own care through preventative measures, corrective measures and so forth.

Operational Benefits

Driving efficiency into the organization by focusing on what works well with patients, and eliminating what does not work well.

Cross-over trust is enhanced. For instance, a good experience in scheduling appointments can cross over into a better experience with the care provider. In addition, a good experience with the patient’s PCP can cross over into a more positive experience with specialists that the PCP has referred.

Increased internal support for other quality improvement efforts, such as timeliness improvement, care process improvement, etc.

Quality Accreditation Benefits

Heightened ability to participate in quality accreditation measurement programs such as NCQA 2007 HEDIS

Financial Benefits

  • Being compensated for services by health plans and purchasers who peg compensation in part to satisfaction scores.
  • Reduced provider staff stress and turnover.
  • Providing evidence of value of care to purchasers and payers.

Marketing and Promotional Benefits

  • Increased likelihood for being referred for services.
  • Increased propensity to return to the same hospital, same physician, etc.
  • Improving word-of-mouth promotion of your organization.
  • Better comparison against competitors.

Risk Management Benefits

  • Reduced likelihood of malpractice litigation.
  • Regulatory Compliance Benefits
  • Positive scores as reported by the government such as when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) posts satisfaction survey results on its Hospital Compare website.


Using Business Intelligence to Increase Patient Satisfaction

There are three key business intelligence applications focused on increasing patient satisfaction:

Patient Satisfaction Reporting

The most common form of patient satisfaction measurement is through primary surveys and the subsequent reporting of results. Business intelligence supports the collection of information from various sources, transforming data into standardized measures and combining the data with other quality measures.

Even more valuable is the dissemination of satisfaction results to the wide variety of users [quality accreditation organizations, pay-for-performance contractors, public reporting bodies, regulatory agencies]. BI allows collection of data once and slicing and dicing it to present various views. This has proven to provide a high return on investment.

Patient Satisfaction Information for Patients

Patients are demanding greater involvement in their care. This requires newer forms of clinical, operational and business analysis to coordinate this increased involvement.

Patients are also demanding greater evidence of treatment success and statistical information to make informed choices about their care. This demands effective and efficient service surrounding primary care. In turn, ensuring this information is available requires a high degree of analytical capability of the healthcare organization.

Patient Satisfaction Information for Providers

The most important use of patient satisfaction data is to transform services and processes involved in patient care. Activities are being objectively assessed for importance to the patient, rather than to the organisation. Staff can be allocated more effectively, ensuring a physician’s time is deployed on more complex and urgent cases.

Increasing patient satisfaction will continue to be important as more pressures from increased competition, scrutiny and demand for services. The total patient healthcare experience becomes more important as patients become more entrenched as healthcare consumers as a result of having to bear more financial burden for their medical care.

It is becoming critical to pay attention to what your patients think of and are saying about your organization.

Business intelligence can help healthcare organizations compete on satisfaction, patient involvement and operational processes.

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