10 Ways to Maintain High Patient Satisfaction

Pend Oreille Surgery Center in Ponderay, Idaho, has shown outstanding patient satisfaction scores. Administrator Kris Sabo suggests 10 ways to keep patient satisfaction high.


1. Get clear patient feedback. The center provides a suggestion box and hands out patient satisfaction surveys with stamped, self-addressed envelopes. The survey covers the patient's experience with registration, the facility, nursing, delays and any pain from surgery. It also asks for an overall assessment and asks for written comments.

2. Respond to concerns. Ms. Sabo reads each survey, focusing on concerns. "If someone has a concern, I always call them," she says. She also contacts some patients who did not register concerns.

3. Take each suggestion seriously. A typical concern has to do with being scheduled later in the day. The obvious answer is that not everyone can be seen first thing in the morning. However, "we advise them that in the future, they should ask their provider to schedule them for an earlier time in the day," Ms. Sabo says.

4. Think suggestions through. Some requests may at first seem like a bad idea, such as providing something to drink in the waiting room. Patients are not supposed to drink anything before surgery. However, providing water, soda or coffee means a lot to family members or friends who have to wait a long time to drive the patient home. Pend Oreille supplies coffee and water in the waiting room, and when patients arrive, it is made clear that drinks are for non-patients only.

5. Don't assume patient preferences. Patients have their own preferences on issues like having spouses with them in pre-op and post-op. Some would rather be alone. "You have to be very delicate about the patient's desires," Ms. Sabo says. "When the spouse requests to be with the patient, we have to make sure it's okay with the patient."

6. Weigh preferences against each other. One person's request might conflict with another's needs. For example, some want television in the lobby, but others see it as an annoyance. Pend Oreille does not have a TV in the lobby.

7. Friendly staff is key to satisfaction. "We are fortunate because we have a very friendly staff who like what they are doing," Ms. Sabo says. The staff's enthusiasm can be contagious.

8. Inform patients about longer waits. Engage patients when the schedule is running late. "The best thing is to be very honest with them," Ms. Sabo says. "Keep them informed about how much longer it's going to be." But try to keep them from leaving the building. Being out and about increases the temptation to get something to eat, which is not allowed before surgery.

9. Provide material in the waiting room. People who have to wait need something to do. In addition to magazines, Pend Oreille provides crossword and Sudoku books. "We try to provide the little things that help," Ms. Sabo says.

10. Atmosphere counts. It helps to have a beautiful lobby area like Pend Oreille's, with leather couches, a fireplace and light music with no lyrics. Lyrics can be distracting to some people.


Learn more about Pend Oreille Surgery Center.


Read more suggestions for patient satisfaction improvement:


- 3 Ways to Achieve Excellent Patient Throughput


- Surgery Center Best Practice: Send Hand-Signed Letters to Patients After Surgery


- 5 Key Considerations for Creating and Distributing Patient Satisfaction Surveys

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Webinars

Featured Whitepapers

Featured Podcast