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Stellar Service: Six Simple Steps to a Five-star Patient Experience BY M E RY L D . LUA L L I N , C EO , S U L L I VA N LUA L L I N G R O U P

THERE’S NO SECRET TO HIGH PATIENT SATISFACTION SCORES Typically healthcare organizations manage their team members in two different ways: clinical/procedural tasks are clearly defined and closely monitored, whereas service issues are addressed in generalities, and left to the good judgment of each individual. As a result, many service quality efforts fail because they are essentially sermons—motivational pep talks that create momentary enthusiasm but don’t produce lasting results. What’s needed is a structured, managed approach to establishing a culture of service.

SIX-STEP APPROACH TO FIVE-STAR SERVICE Successful organizations manage to transform their patients’ experiences and raise satisfaction scores through a series of practical activities designed to assess the current environment; improve patient and employee/provider experiences; and maintain the improvement gains. These actions are implemented in six simple steps.

STEP ONE: CONDUCT A SERVICE ASSESSMENT Most practices and all hospitals today conduct an assessment of their patients’ satisfaction through H-CAHPS (Hospital-Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) or CG-CAHPS (Clinician Group-Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) surveys. For a service assessment to be truly useful, an organization must delve beneath the survey data. By conducting mystery patient visits and mystery calls, key executives learn the experiences of faux patients, both in person and on the telephone. Did the receptionist or admitting clerk greet the patient with a smile and pleasantry? Was the caller put on hold without permission? If the mystery patient were an actual patient, would s/he recommend the organization to friends or family? If not, why not? By implementing an employee/provider engagement survey, an organization learns immediately the perceptions of its workforce regarding the importance of the patient experience, working conditions and, particularly, the impediments to delivering outstanding service performance.

STEP TWO: GET LEADERSHIP ON BOARD Providers are persuaded by data. A meeting convened to share with physician leaders their organization’s standings in comparison with others is a powerful strategy for impelling leadership to support a service quality improvement effort. In addition, actual experiences described by mystery patients are equally potent in creating demand for improvement.

“Successful organizations manage to transform their patients’ experiences through a series of practical activities designed to assess the current environment; improve patient and employee/ provider experiences; and maintain the improvement gains.” continued on page 24

22 l CAPG HEALTH

Special Conference Edition • June 2015

CAPG Health Conference Issue June 2015  

We're pleased to present the 2015 Conference Issue, which offers a glimpse of the rich content presented at CAPG's 12th Annual Healthcare Co...

CAPG Health Conference Issue June 2015  

We're pleased to present the 2015 Conference Issue, which offers a glimpse of the rich content presented at CAPG's 12th Annual Healthcare Co...