7 Tips for ASCs to Drive Patient Experience Improvement

At the 11th Annual Spine, Orthopedic & Pain Management-Driven ASC Conference June 14, Jason Jones, vice president of patient satisfaction at Laser Spine Institute, discussed the importance of patient experience for ASCs' success.

Mr. Jones shared tips to improve patient experience based on Laser Spine Institute's success improving patient satisfaction.

1. Establish a leadership position for patient experience.
With the multitude of challenges ASC administrators are already juggling, it would be difficult for them to also manage patient experience. Assigning someone whose specific role is to monitor patient experience and drive improvement efforts can ensure this important element of care does not fall by the wayside. "My recommendation when it comes to eliminating roadblocks [around patient experience] is to consider who's keeping the pulse of patient experience for you," Mr. Jones said.

2. Define values. Mr. Jones emailed employees to ask what values and actions they want to see in their workplace and in their colleagues, and chose the most common answers. Defining shared values established a foundation from which to build patient experience.

3. Choose the right support staff. In many ASCs, hospitality staff and not necessarily medical staff spends the most face-to-face time with the patient, according to Mr. Jones. Leaders need to ensure staff are committed to the values of the organization and have the skills to help create a positive experience for patients.

4. Cater to caregivers. Patients' caregivers — their family members or friends who help them in their recovery — affect patient experience, so healthcare providers should ensure their needs are met. ASC staff should keep caregivers informed and answer their questions, for example.

5. Redefine how communication sounds and feels.
Strong communication is essential to a positive patient experience. Mr. Jones suggested communicating with patients and caregivers early to disarm them and identify and meet their needs.

6. Address surgeons' interactions with patients.
An in-house study at Laser Spine Institute facilities showed that patients' satisfaction with their conversation with surgeons correlated directly with their overall satisfaction. Leaders should coach surgeons on how to communicate effectively with patients, Mr. Jones suggested.

7. Don't rely on patient satisfaction scores alone.
While patient satisfaction scores are important, real-time patient feedback on patients' experience can speed the improvement process. For example, asking patients about their experience during a post-discharge phone call can alert administrators to problems that they can begin addressing before they receive patients' surveys.

More Articles on Patient Experience:

Investing in Nurse Communication Pays Dividends in HCAHPS Scores
10 Strategies for ASC Success in Healthcare Saturated Markets

Developing Healthcare Workers' Emotional Intelligence: Q&A With Emotional Intelligence Coach Harvey Deutschendorf

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