With the Affordable Care Act tying Medicare reimbursement to hospital patient satisfaction, hospitals have been turning to customer service leaders like the Disney Company for advice on how to please their patients.

According to an article in the New York Times titled, ‘In Customer Service Consulting Disney’s Small World Is Growing‘, the company has even started its own consulting arm, called the Disney Institute, to assist businesses in improving customer satisfaction.  The article notes that Florida Hospital, a 22-campus chain, now employs “a ukulele-playing greeter dressed in safari gear” and exhibits “calming video art” in various locations.

The patient satisfaction trend began in the 1990s and was driven by competition and customer loyalty.  The underlying idea was that “if you don’t make your customers happy, someone else will – and they’ll tell their family and friends.”  According to Press-Ganey, consumer surveys report that “a person who has had an unpleasant experience with a business will tell nine or 10 other people.  Approximately 13% will tell more than 20 people.”

Today, there’s perhaps an even more pressing issue. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, if your patients’ perception of the quality of care is low-scoring, your reimbursement will be affected. Public reporting on sites like hospitalcompare.gov can turn those 9 or 10 people into thousands in an instant.

However, while a friendly, welcoming experience is important, it’s tough to keep a patient happy if he or she is left to wait in the emergency department or a hallway for hours on end.

The patient’s first encounter with the hospital often sets the tone for their perception of the entire stay. If that encounter starts with an extensive wait to get a bed, you may already have lost the  battle for positive patient satisfaction survey scores.

TeleTracking solutions are helping hundreds of the top hospitals across the country relieve ED overcrowding by speeding up throughput processes (bed turns, transport, discharge, peri-operative, asset management).

With hospitals already being held accountable to the ACA’s Value-based Purchasing program, they are focusing more than ever on improving the overall patient experience. And, in our opinion, the first place to start is when the patient walks in the emergency room door.

Learn more about how Capacity Management can help you relieve pressure in the ED and get patients to the right bed with the right resources as quickly as possible by contacting us at marketing@teletracking.com.

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