Understanding the Value of Patient Satisfaction Measures

eHealth Technologies blog: Jan Tabor, Clinical Optimization Consultant, eHealth Technologies

Patient satisfaction is the key to patient loyalty. Gathering feedback that promotes an understanding of areas for improved care is critical to keeping referral pipelines strong. For many years, hospitals and healthcare organizations have sought ways to gather and analyze patient feedback, including national standardized surveys such as HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and System) Survey and the CAHPS Cancer Care Survey from AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality), in addition to their own paper, online, and phone questionnaires.

Cancer administrators have found that wait times have a profound impact on overall patient satisfaction. When patients have to wait several weeks to be seen for diagnosis and treatment, they will often turn to another provider who can get them in sooner. Although physician specialization and treatment options top the list for most patients, a timely initial consult visit remains a critical satisfier for patients.

Now more than ever, hospitals and cancer centers invest resources in access services to ensure referrals and inquiries are handled efficiently. Throughout the country, health systems are promoting same day or next day appointments as a way of increasing market share for services like primary care, internal medicine, or orthopedics. In these areas there is the ability to get immediate or next day appointments. Unlike those services, cancer care requires a much more in-depth summary of a patient’s medical history, including records, imaging, and pathology reports.

eHealth Technologies offers customized services, tailored for the unique needs of each cancer program to provide the lab, images, pathology results, and reports needed to complete a comprehensive consult. Customized, department-specific templates are created that delineate required records, images, and pathology for each diagnosis and need by date.  For patients requiring an immediate appointment, templates that identify the most critical medical information required for the consult can be used while more expansive record retrieval takes place.

With eHealth Technologies as your partner, your access team is able to address the critical need to respond to calls from referring physicians and patients, scheduling appropriate cancer appointments, and communicating with the patient and family on what to expect during the initial visit.  A time study completed by an academic medical center showed that cancer center access staff required 3-4 hours each day to request, receive, process, collate and scan records. Using eHealth Connect® Record Retrieval services, staff can spend just minutes submitting each patient request. Staff are no longer burdened with follow-up calls, collating, or scanning records that are submitted. eHealth Technologies organizes and compiles complete medical histories that can be made available right within the EMR.

As cancer center administrators work to increase competitiveness and maximize patient satisfaction scores to promote their programs, the engagement and satisfaction of employees and providers is essential. A partnership with eHealth Technologies means greater employee satisfaction as access staff can prioritize their work and take that call from a referring physicians office or answer the phone in real time to welcome a new patient to their program with a timely appointment. Hundreds of pages of faxed records, often containing irrelevant information, are replaced with an indexed record that can be received in PDF format or delivered directly into your EMR.  Your provider team dictates how required records are organized eliminating their frustration as they prepare for the patient visit. With records received and organized appropriately, efficient preparation for the consult decreases provider time.

Today’s important question in healthcare is patient loyalty.  Do your patients recommend care at your facility to others?  Word of mouth holds significant new business potential. Consumer studies from Deloitte show that 25% patients rely on recommendations from friends and family and 25% use online reviews when selecting a hospital/doctor. Having a positive cancer experience, starting with a timely appointment with providers that have the medical information needed to render treatment options are one of the components of care that contribute to a patient recommending your facility.  Partnering with eHealth Technologies provides a positive start to your patients’ cancer journey.