A simple piece of advice, to be sure, but one that can also humanize a hospitalist in the eyes of a patient, said panelists of “The Patient Experience: What Hospitalists Need to Know About Measuring, Reporting and Benchmarking.”
“As many doctors are figuring out, perception is reality,” said Patrick Blakeslee, DO, a hospitalist with Premiere Medical Partners in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. The credentialing process at his hospital takes into account patient-satisfaction levels. “This is articulation ability, not necessarily your technical skill,” he said.
But like any other facet of medicine, with training, hospitalists can improve the patient’s interaction with physicians. Some tips:
- Craft a script for introductions. While it might sound rehearsed, it also gives the hospitalist a chance to lay out ahead of time what they want to say instead of curtailing the message because of a daily time crunch.
- Develop a business card with your picture or a brochure with an FAQ. Give the patient a sense of what they can expect from their doctor and vice versa.
- End with an open-ended question. This technique engages the patient in their treatment.
HM leaders looking to go even further with patient-satisfaction programs can develop an in-house survey that might gauge responses more accurately, said Nancy Mihevc, PhD, president of The Research Group in Florence, Mass. Outside surveys can be valuable, depending on the methodology they use, she said.
“We’re all, at this point, being measured in this realm,” said Winthrop Whitcomb, MD, MHM, medical director for healthcare quality at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass. “Should you as a hospitalist be compared to all programs, or should you be compared to just hospitalists?” HM10