Hospitals are a business and the people of the community are their patients. Individuals fly thousands of miles to visit our client, the Cleveland Clinic, who also provides healthcare for the low income residents of Cleveland. Hospitals are working hard to provide better care and improve the patient experience. The nationally implimented HCAHPS survey is rewarding the best hospitals and helping to gauge customer satisfaction, but is it a good indicator of providing quality patient care?
Demanding patients are seeking unnecessary tests and prescriptions, increasing the costs of healthcare for everyone. Furthermore, physicians who are bearers of bad news (for example, telling a parent that his/her child’s asthma is exacerbated by his/her smoking) are most probably not going to score very high on patient satisfaction scores. After all, good healthcare is not necessarily synonymous with popularity. The fear is that doctors will push patients towards surgery or prescriptions medications rather than confronting patients about the unhealthy habits that cause the problems is the first place. The doctor shouldn’t be seen as a concierge that makes you happy, but as professional who will provide expert advice you respect and follow.
Hospitals are providing patients with what they need, but not necessarily what customers want. One problem with the hospital ratings is that don’t necessarily rate the care provided to the patient, they rate the customers satisfaction. The inability to provide the patient with a flat-screen television shouldn’t factor into lower scores, but it often does. Hospitals are providing hotel-like accommodations and amenities for their patients, but these costs are being passed on to insurance companies, which then get passed along to the customer.