The following article is written by Anne Dean, RN, BSN, LRM, CEO and co-founder of The ADA Group.
As more ambulatory surgery centers are developed, competition is getting fierce and patient satisfaction becomes more important in capturing and retaining patient loyalty.
A number of issues influence patient satisfaction, but perhaps none is as great as the first impression presented to the patient either in his or her preoperative phone call or first image of the surgery center. Positive communication with the patient starting with that preoperative call and continuing throughout his admission is crucial to his perception of a positive experience. A patient's perception of nursing care influences whether or not he or she will return to the facility in the future should he need further care. Recently, we had cause to come upon several questionnaires where the patients reported:
- The preoperative nurse sounded like she was slurring her words
- The preoperative nurse was difficult to understand
- The preoperative nurse was in too much of a hurry to answer questions
- The person at the desk was rude
- No one called me to…
All of these are negative communications that could, most certainly, impact a patient's loyalty.
The waiting room is a critical issue to patients' satisfaction. What does your waiting room say to patients when that door is opened? Are they entering into a warm, friendly, home-like environment that is comfortable and inviting? Or … is it cramped, dull?
Some of our centers have waiting rooms that make you want to just sit back and put up your feet while others, I am afraid, sport soiled upholstery and carpet, uncomfortable chairs, old and dull paint or wallpaper and no artwork. Sometimes I see dead or wilting plants gasping for a drink of water in the corner. Makes patients wonder how well you will take care of them!
Patients today are far savvier about available healthcare options than the consumer of yesterday. We truly live in the era of shopping center medicine with our patients as the shoppers. Their expectations are higher. They visit the websites of numerous physicians and ASCs prior to making decisions and many of those decisions to use a particular physician and center are made as a result of the information provided on the website. And yet … many of our clients have no website!
Patients compare their previous experiences when making a decision to continue with a particular physician or to use his center.
How is your patient treated throughout his experience? Is staff warm, friendly? Are cell phones used at the bedside? Are staff members having discussions about personal things at the patient's bedside or within the patient's hearing? Are physicians going to the bedside before and after their procedure? In the face of the rush of surgery, are patients made to feel they are "the only one"?
Anesthesia providers can frequently be an issue. Many have no ownership in the center either financially or in their attitude, and can be abrupt with the patients leaving a negative impression.
Patients today demand the bar be at a high level. Are you meeting this?
Learn more about The ADA Group.