8 Ways to Enhance Patient Satisfaction in Surgery Centers

Highly satisfied patients translate into long-term success and higher volume for the ambulatory surgery center, says Rajiv Chopra, of the C/N Group in Merrillville, Ind. "If the patient has a bad experience at your ASC they are going to give their physician an earful," he says. Mr. Chopra identifies eight ways to improve patient satisfaction in a surgery center.


1. Start with exceptional people. Surgery centers need to recruit nurses, clerical personnel and others who are passionate about customer service in healthcare. "Training and an emphasis on patient satisfaction are important, but at the end of the day the mindset of your staff fills in the gaps," Mr. Chopra says.


2. Balance efficiency with compassion. While an ASC has to strive for efficiency, the patient should never feel rushed or lacking information about their care. "Overemphasizing efficiency may compromise the patient experience," Mr. Chopra says.


3. The front desk is crucial. Front-end staff members who initially greet patients must be courteous and well organized. "Increased regulation has created a blizzard of forms and disclosures," Mr. Chopra observes. Front-end staff should explain the purpose of each form, emphasizing how it benefits the patient.


4. Realize patients are nervous. "Many patients are apprehensive when they arrive," Mr. Chopra says. "This may be their first visit to an ASC or even their first surgical experience." Keep in mind that patients receiving a colonoscopy had to go through the prep beforehand. "You may be dealing with tired, hungry and slightly agitated people," he says. "Their frame of mind is probably not at its best."


5. Older patients need more attention. "It's no surprise that the patient population is changing," Mr. Chopra says. Many patients need more assistance and more handholding in general. "Your processes and individual patient interactions should accommodate this," he says.


6. Don't forget about family members. ASC staff should be aware of the needs of family members or other caregivers who are with patients or pick them up. "Make sure you are communicating clearly with these individuals about follow-up, medications and so forth," Mr. Chopra says. Ask them if they are they getting all the information they need. Do they need more explanation?


7. Make handovers seamless. A typical patient will interact with many different staff, from front-end to nursing to clinical support staff. To minimize frictions that occur in patient handovers, emphasize consistent and detailed communication among them.


8. Solicit suggestions from staff. Many staff members came from facilities where they were discouraged from making suggestions. "You've got to release their entrepreneurial spirit," Mr. Chopra says. Tell them directly, "What do you think about the process? How can we make this a better experience for the patient?"


Learn more about the C/N Group.


Read more from C/N Group:


- 6 Ways to Prepare for Successful Payor Contract Negotiations


- 5 Ways to Improve Post-Operative Processes in Surgery Centers


- 4 Ways to Enhance Referral Relationships and Boost Surgical Volume

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