A new study shows that Improving the patient experience can help a hospital improve its financial performance by strengthening customer loyalty, building reputation and brand, and boosting utilization of hospital services through increased referrals to family and friends. Payers looking for better value are also helping to drive hospitals to focus on patient experience. As a result, patient experience scores for factors as diverse as noise level, staff communication skills, transparency and in-room services like food services have become important hospital performance measures.

It’s an interesting insight which implicitly states that in an increasingly evolving space of customer satisfaction, hospitals are not left untouched by high expectations from users. The users are experiencing in their day to day lives a very elevated level of experience with brands tripping over each other to provide the best of experience in the physical as well as the digital space. It is this same experience he/she starts expecting out of the hospitals wherein he is paying for all the services. As patients increasingly “shop” for health care services, enhancing the patient experience is regarded as a potential driver of hospital performance.

According to experts, some of the key factors that influence patient satisfaction scores are:

  • Quality of doctors and clinical staff
  • Transparent communication
  • Ease of scheduling appointment
  • Use of technology for a seamless experience across touchpoints
  • Ease of accessing phone support
  • Post-discharge follow up assistance
  • Online capabilities
  • Mobile capabilities
  • Room appearance and furnishings
  • In-room dining experience
  • Facilities for guests and relatives

According to Mr. Sunil Juneja, a Nutritional consultant, one of the key factors that were hitherto unexplored in great detail is the influence of food as an integral part of hospital care solutions and hence also the role it plays in patient satisfaction scores. “While hospitals are increasingly getting alert on a few things like understanding patient needs better and ensuring that food is curated according to their preference while maintaining taste and quality, what seems to be lacking is the ability to use technology to understand the nutritional needs and provide food services as per procedure and patient-specific needs.” The jury is still out on this one…