Patient Satisfaction: It’s Door-to-Room Times (Duh)

As customer satisfaction becomes rapidly enshrined as our reimbursement overlord, we are all eager to improve our satisfaction scores.  And, by scores, I mean: Press Ganey.

So, as with all studies attempting to describe patient satisfaction, we unfortunately depend on the validity of the proprietary Press Ganey measurement instrument.  This limitation acknowledged, these authors at Oregon Health and Science University have conducted a single-center study, retrospectively linking survey results with patient characteristics, and statistically evaluating associations using a linear mixed-effects model.  They report three survey elements:  overall experience, wait time before provider, and likelihood to recommend.

Which patients were most pleased with their experience?  Old, white people who didn’t have to wait very long.  Every additional decade in age increased satisfaction, every hour wait decreased satisfaction, and there was a smattering of other mixed effects based on payor source, ethnicity, and perceived length of stay.  What’s interesting about these results – despite the threats to validity and limitations inherent to a retrospective study – is how much the satisfaction outcomes depend upon non-modifiable factors.  You can actually purchase patient experience consulting from Press Ganey, and they’ll come teach you and your nurses a handful of repackaged common-sense tricks – but I’m happy to save your department the money:  door-to-room times.

Or change your client mix.

Done.

“Associations Between Patient and Emergency Department Operational Characteristics and Patient Satisfaction Scores in an Adult Population”
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25182541

1 thought on “Patient Satisfaction: It’s Door-to-Room Times (Duh)”

  1. Ryan – your recap and observations are excellent. You are right that some factors are non-modifiable. As a speaker, I know that many in the audience are going to decide how good my talk will be by what they notice in the first 30 seconds of seeing me. Some things about me are non-modifiable. So I'd better be the absolute best at whatever is in within my control to provide value and create rapport. Where we have choice, we have opportunity.

    The non-modifiable factors are where we need to manage expectations. "I wish we had a sleeper couch for your spouse. We don't have that, but I can give you (pillows, warm milk, ear buds etc) this for a little bit of comfort."

    Thanks again for your thought-provoking post!

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