Hospitals Competing For Your $atisfaction

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The chief executive officer of a Florida hospital decided to go undercover. He did not shave for two days, he put on a baseball cap, and pretended to be sick. The plan was part of an effort by HCA Holdings, to find out what it’s really like to be one of its customers. He was able to see things and have the experiences the way patients do.

This was done because hospitals across the U.S. are attempting to make patient stays more pleasant. Since the government is willing to give out almost $1 billion this year in bonus Medicare payments. The government will award it to those that meet Washington’s expectations.  The way this will be determined is by asking patients whether their room was comfortable, if it was quiet at night, and how well their pain was controlled. Estimates of how much hospitals may get aren’t yet available, but high evaluations could mean millions of dollars for hospitals.

“Asking patients directly is the best way to measure care,” says Patrick Conway, chief medical officer for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. It may not lower death rates but it may at least result in better bedside manner. The Cleveland Clinic use noise meters to make sure the hallways in the hospital are quiet at night and they do role-playing for doctors to improve their communication skills with patients. HCA is encouraging hospital executives to pose as secret patients to spot flaws that could lead to low rankings. All this effort is in hope to may make patients dread hospitals less.

It is important for this to be achieved because they are providing a service in hope that the patients expectations are exceeded. It does not always need to be achieved by having an illness cured but the ease and sensibility of the procedure is very important. Therefore, to me empathy is one of the most important service dimensions out of the five, when my dentist told me I had to have my wisdom teeth surgically removed I was afraid of the procedure since it would be my first surgery. In seeing my reaction the dentist communicated with me that everything would be fine and the way he spoke to me made me feel that he cared about how I would feel in his chair, making me less afraid of my procedure. Overall I believe hospitals should improve their service so it is a pleasant experience from the  moment you enter to the moment you step out.

Questions to think about

What are some things you wish hospitals would improve?

Have you had any bad experiences at hospitals?

Which of the five service dimensions are most important to you?



7 thoughts on “Hospitals Competing For Your $atisfaction

  1. My most important service dimension is empathy because it is important for the nurses and doctors to care about me. If they don’t care about how I turn out then they may not perform their duties on me well. I haven’t had to many bad experiences in hospitals. Most of them care for me and do the work well. Te bad part is that they do not ask about insurance and they may give me a big bill when it should go to the insurance. So that would be something hospitals can improve on. The one that I went to could put me into a database where it has all of my information on it to save time.

  2. I agree that empathy is the most important service that can be provided by the hospitals. When a person goes to the hospital he/she is already sick and in a bad mood. To make things worse if the doctors are rude and tell you serious information in the most feelingless way would make hospitals a haunted place. Doctors and staff need to satisfy the patients so that they somewhat forget about their illness and feel better with the staffs courtesy.

  3. I believe that all 5 of the service dimensions are just as important, especially in a hospital because human lives are at stake. I have only been to the hospital a few times, so I do not have much experience with hospitals. However, I think one of the worst things when it comes to hospitals is the waiting time. I went with my mom to the hospital because she needed to get some scans and exams done, and it probably took up half of the day, and most of it was just waiting. Someone could be in excruciating pain and will have to wait hours if their condition is not deemed as an emergency.

  4. I think it’s sad that the only reason they are making changes is because there is more money to be made in bonuses from Washington. I think the biggest problem lies with the insurance companies determining what services/procedures you can and cannot have. Often, doctors have to fight and fight and fight with insurance companies just to admit a patient into the hospital to be observed. Even me, working in a pharmacy, sees first hand that insurance companies are having more power than doctors. They determine what medicine the patient should be on simply because “it’s cheaper” but it might not be the BEST option for the patient. Sometimes your care in the hospital is determined by your insurance, you might not be getting the best pain medication, the best test/procedure for your aliment etc. simply because your insurance won’t pay for it. Sure, you can pay out of pocket, but… you must be willing to dish out hundreds of thousands of dollars!

  5. There is a lot that needs to be improved in American Hospitals. I’ve broken a bone here in the U.S. and one in Lithuania. The difference in the quality of care was like night and day. Here, I was put into an ambulance ($800 for 3 miles), put under anesthetic for surgery, and woke up with an empty bag of morphine. The pain was too intense, so I hit the button to call for a nurse. A whole two hours went by without anyone coming. IVs are supposed to be checked every 4 hours, so mine wasn’t checked for at least 6. In Lithuania, the nurse checked on me every hour or so, and I was actually visited by a doctor. Just just him peeking his head in and saying hello. The food was good, and I was very well taken care of. I didn’t have dual citizenship at the time, so I had to pay. How much? $900. That’s barely more than how much an ambulance in the U.S. cost me. I… I just don’t get it.

  6. I really like the initiative being taken about proving better patient experience in Hospitals. This past tuesday night i went to the hospital’s emergency room with excruciating pain but was not placed in a room for 4 agonizing hours. Once there was a space available for me, I still had to wait almost 2 hours to see the doctor and wait some more before the surgical procedure. Needless to say that I agree with spr1332shuang that wait time is a major issue.

  7. Hospitals need better service, period. I understand that it can be hard to provide a standard service since each patient is supposed to be treated case-by-case. However, even thinking about going to a hospital causes stress. Emergency rooms and their wait times are what really need to be fixed. A little more personable service from doctors can make a patient’s stay at a hospital much more comfortable.

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