Unlock the Potential of Your Hospital Through a Comprehensive Patient Experience Strategy
Learn how a comprehensive patient experience strategy can enhance patient satisfaction,
retention rates, and hospital reputation and put a plan into action.
A high-quality patient experience is a crucial goal for any hospital. Providing compassionate care
and ensuring that patients feel comfortable and respected are paramount for healthcare
providers. Hospital leadership teams know that not only is this the mission of the organization
but it also is important for gaining a positive reputation and increasing patient satisfaction scores.
But, positive patient experiences don’t just happen because of compassionate care of front line
workers and good bedside manner. In fact, improving patient experience begins at the top with
hospital leadership developing an effective strategy that puts patients first and ensures that their
expectations are met throughout their stay, from admissions to follow-up appointments.
Here we’ll explore some ways to maximize your hospital's potential with a comprehensive
patient experience strategy that proactively addresses the elements that lead to patients having an
exceptional hospital experience.
Understanding Why Patient Experience in Healthcare Matters
Patient expectations play a significant role in satisfaction levels. When hospitals understand the
needs and expectations of their patients, they can tailor their services to satisfy those needs and
create a positive experience across all touchpoints. Sometimes this is a matter of small, intuitive
changes that make a significant difference on the patient experience. Without auditing and
examining the hospital’s processes, these opportunities for improvement may never get noticed.
Building trust between patients and healthcare providers is essential for improving patient
satisfaction, helping with adherence to treatment plans and ultimately leading to better health
outcomes. Hospital leadership has an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage by creating a
comprehensive patient experience strategy that differentiates the organization from its
competition. This not only fosters trust with patients, but also ensures that every interaction
leaves patients feeling heard, respected and valued. Ultimately, this leads to improved patient
healthcare experiences, increased satisfaction levels, and improved business outcomes.
Harvard Business Review, in their piece “When Patient Experience and Employee Engagement Both Improve, Hospitals’ Ratings and Profits Climb,” reiterates these benefits, stating “Prior analyses of data collected by Press Ganey have shown that hospitals with better patient experience have better business performance.”
What are the key benefits of a comprehensive patient experience strategy?
A comprehensive patient experience strategy can be a game-changer for any hospital with a
chain of positive ripple effects reverberating down to the hospital’s bottom line. High patient
satisfaction not only helps to elevate the quality of care, but such a strategy can also boost
patient satisfaction and retention while improving a hospital’s reputation within the community.
This all leads to enhanced employee engagement and cost savings for the hospital. Let’s
examine these benefits a bit further:
Increased patient satisfaction:
Patient satisfaction can be greatly improved by implementing strategies focusing on the following:
More streamlined communication
Higher patient retention rates:
Patients who are content with their experience at a hospital will
be more likely to come back and recommend the establishment, resulting in higher patient
People are more likely to trust and have a better perception of the
hospital’s services when they hear positive reviews from their peers. Hospitals are often ranked
locally and regionally, and these scores and stats receive attention from the press, making high
scores a potential valuable PR opportunity.
There are many ways higher patient satisfaction scores can lead to a reduction
of costs, including eliminating unnecessary treatments and saving resources thanks to better
communication between providers and patients. This can result in improved patient outcomes,
reduced readmissions and increased loyalty.
Enhanced employee engagement:
When employees see they can positively impact patient
satisfaction, they are more likely to be motivated and engaged in their work.
Of course every hospital’s core mission is to provide the highest level of care to patients. As this list shows however, the benefits of patient satisfaction extend well beyond the individual patient. High patient satisfaction directly contributes to the long-term wellness of the organization, allowing it to not only continue its operations, but thrive and potentially grow.
Higher Patient Experience Ratings Are Associated with Higher
As noted, positive patient experiences have a direct correlation to higher hospital profitability, as
they lead to increased follow-up appointments and referrals as well as savings on operational
On the other hand, negative experiences can have the opposite effect. Medicare's Value-BasedPurchasing (VBP) Program financially rewards hospitals that have better patient-reported
experience scores. Therefore, enhancing patient satisfaction is important for hospitals seeking
to reduce waste or service costs and improve their profitability.
What should be included in a patient experience strategy?
As you can see, there are many reasons to implement a comprehensive patient experience
strategy. But what steps should be included in this measure? Below is a helpful checklist to
follow to initiate and implement a patient experience strategy within a hospital system:
● Assess the patient experience and analyze patient feedback. Reviewing survey results
By taking these steps, hospitals can create a positive patient experience and improve their
Relating Patient Experience to Other Quality Measures
● Improving areas identified by feedback from patients
By focusing on these quality measures, hospitals can increase satisfaction among its patients,
which leads to better health outcomes and fewer readmissions. Additionally, evaluating the
impact of patient experience on financial performance will help hospitals identify opportunities
for improvement and maximize profitability. By prioritizing patient experience through these
quality measures, hospitals can ensure they are providing the highest level of care while
achieving financial success.
Key Steps to Implementing an Effective Patient Experience Strategy
Implementing an effective patient experience strategy is essential for hospitals to improve their
services and provide better patient care. There are five key steps to follow:
Define Your Goals:
Identify your desired outcome and create a plan to achieve it.
Solicit Patient Input:
Gather feedback from patients about what they like and dislike about their experiences at the hospital. Consider obtaining feedback at various stages of the patient journey and use a variety of methods for collecting feedback, such as through online surveys, postcard surveys, and SMS questionnaires.
Equip staff with customer service skills and ensure they understand the
Leverage technology such as electronic health records, online
Continuously Evaluate Results:
Monitor patient feedback and track progress towards goals, making adjustments when necessary in order to keep your strategy on track.
Creating a comprehensive patient experience strategy not only will help to improve the patient
experience within your hospital or healthcare system, but it is also a viable option for enhancing
the bottom line and improving the financial health of a healthcare organization. By charting and
continuously working on improvements to the patient experience, hospitals can gain momentum
and empower their teams to take pride in their level of care and satisfaction.