Healthcare Real Estate Developer | 3 Reasons Hospitals Must Focus on Patient Satisfaction

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Even in this time of health systems increasing cost savings and moving away from lavish interiors, hospitals are still willing to go the extra mile when designing patient rooms. Whether through sophisticated electronics or expanded room space, hospitals upgrading patient rooms may expect increased patient satisfaction as well as an economic gain.

Hospital room upgrades most commonly include wireless technologies and individual room temperature control as a Health Facilities Management – ASHE 2011 Construction Survey indicated. In the survey, 38% of hospitals were instituting these two comfort improvements. Other patient luxuries adopted by health systems were larger room size for a single patient, 200 square feet or more, patient entertainment and educational system, and in-room family areas. Customizing technology in patient rooms is the norm now according to Mark Kenneday, vice chancellor for campus operations at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. In rooms with amenities like these, patients’ families may now stay and work enhancing patient satisfaction and the healing process.

Another upgrade that has been shown to increase patient satisfaction is single rooms. A 2004 Center for Health Design (CHD) study showed that patients in single rooms reported much higher levels of satisfaction and communication from nurses and physicians compared to those with one or more roommates. Likewise, a separate CHD study showed that single rooms were associated with “lower nosocomial infection rates, fewer patient transfers and associated medical errors, less noise, better patient privacy and confidentiality, superior accommodation of family members, and consistently higher satisfaction with overall quality of care.” There are three crucial reasons why this is important.

1)      The ability to speed the healing process and make patients feel better faster should be a core component of every hospitals mission.

2)      New rules regarding readmission penalties are very stringent, advocating hospitals develop new methods that can decrease the percentage of readmissions for certain conditions so hospital may avoid these penalties.

3)      The third reason involves a new healthcare delivery model known as Value Based Purchasing (VBP).

As hospitals are looking for new ways to ensure efficiency and cost savings, a health delivery method they are implementing is value based purchasing (VBP) which is tied directly with patient satisfaction. In VBP incentives can be reached based on how well the hospital performs on certain quality measures, or how much the hospital’s performance improves compared to its performance during a baseline period. There are 25 measures that determine performance including: patients’ communication between physicians and nurses, hospital staff responsiveness, patients’ pain management and hospital cleanliness. The higher the performance the higher the incentive payment will be.

Attaining high levels of patient satisfaction may increase the chance of cost savings by lowering readmissions, increase incentive payments, and help further a hospital primary mission, patient care.

For more information on Value Based Purchasing see my blog post The Perks of Value Based Purchasing. Also, I enjoy hearing your feedback so don’t hesitate to leave comments or questions.



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