Patient Experience Awareness Is Everywhere

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Patient Experience Awareness Is Everywhere

Over the last few years, the term “patient experience” has become a more recognized focus for hospitals, clinics and physician offices.  It is sometimes synonymous with patient satisfaction, patient centered care, and patient engagement.  What previously was considered just a collateral duty for a healthcare employee suddenly has become a manager’s singular title, sometimes even at the executive level in the hospital setting.

I had the honor of speaking at the 2014 Cleveland Clinic Patient Experience Summit.  The “patient experience” message definitely had reached those in attendance.  There were over 2,100 participants this year compared to about 850 in 2013.  Why the radical increase in interest?

The CMS Value-Based Purchasing ratings among hospitals have been updated for 2014 and has become a more recognized metric available to all hospitals and consumers.  In short, high performing hospitals in all measured domains will receive more reimbursement money for Medicare patients while low performers will be penalized financially.  The Patient Experience domain currently represents 30% of the overall score and is a product of HCAHPS surveys given to discharged patients.

A second and related reason has to do with the heightened competition among hospitals.  Marketing efforts are utilizing more advertising dollars than ever to attract healthcare “customers”.  Central to many of these efforts is the promise of a superior patient experience.  To be fair, many healthcare providers already are delivering a high level of service to their patients.  But now, their institutions are openly promising the best experience every time by everyone!


Dr. Doug Finefrock is a leading national specialist in improving the Patient Experience and HCAHPS scores.  His Patient SET™ Program "Satisfaction Every Time" with The Sullivan Group includes physician CME and nursing CE online video courses that provide scalable communication training for healthcare workers.