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The correlation between providing quality patient care and high patient satisfaction has come into question recently. With nearly 1,500 hospitals penalized under Medicare’s quality incentive program, hospitals have a renewed focus on providing excellence. However, hospitals are not the only healthcare industry taking an about-face. Smaller medical practices and facilities are realizing the need to provide wow patient experiences in order to boost referrals and gain patient loyalty.

Research has shown that there is a large disparity between hospital and physician quality of care and patient satisfaction across the nation. Research has also shown that patient satisfaction in many states is opposite what one would expect when providing quality patient care.

A CareChex survey found that while many hospitals and physicians ranked high in quality of care, they ranked low in patient satisfaction. Florida, for example, ranked 8th in the nation for quality of care and 49th in the nation for patient satisfaction. The resources spent on technology to provide high quality care do not make up for the lack of exceptional care patients have come to expect.

In order to be proactive, administrators and providers must actively solicit patient feedback on services performed. Patient surveys should become a common part of the practice. However, gathering feedback alone is not enough. Necessary improvements must be made to combat any weaknesses that are discovered.

By taking a proactive approach to measuring patient satisfaction while delivering high quality care, providers and facilities can begin bridging the gap between patient satisfaction and quality of care. This approach is necessary to fuel the mindset away from quantity and toward quality.