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The term community has changed. It used to mean a gathering of people, however, as cities grow, people are becoming more spread out. Large hospital systems are buying the smaller ones in an effort to expand their patient reach. Meanwhile, consumers have become selective in what they expect from a hospital. The experience does not just include how they were treated by those who work there. It also includes the technology used during testing and the appearance of the facility. Making everyone happy in all three areas has proven to be challenging and costly.

Many larger hospitals are noticing a discrepancy in their satisfaction scores. They have found high quality technical care in terms of the technology used to test, diagnose and treat illness and a low quality experience when interacting with hospital staff. Could it be that the pursuit to have the most advanced technology, the largest demographic reach and the most aesthetically pleasing facility be taking away from the patients overall experience? It may.

For obvious reasons, the cost to keep all three balls in the air is high. Over time one of these balls is undoubtedly going to drop – but which one? After speaking with several hospital employees that work “in the trenches,” the overwhelming consensus was that perks previously provided to show appreciation have gone away to cover the expenses of adding new wings, new technology and new locations. This appears to have created a feeling of unimportance by the staffers I spoke with. The dissatisfaction they feel can be detected by patients coming into the hospital facility. That said, it may very well be that the wrong employees are in place, which is an entirely different issue although equally important.

Does this mean that every hospital employee is dissatisfied? Absolutely not. What it does mean though, is that hospital leaders must consider employee job satisfaction when researching growth opportunities. If their caretakers are unhappy, the chances of a positive patient experience are diminished. Over time, this will lead to a loss of patients and a loss of revenue. Even if a hospital is the most beautiful in the area with the best technology, if the staff treats patients poorly, the bottom line will suffer.