What was the last time your physician asked you about your expectations and how you would rate the quality of care he gives you? Would anyone be surprised that showing a little compassion with a patient goes a lot further than a nice lobby?
When I first started working at Intel Fab 8 in Jerusalem, one of the things that struck me as being, well “different” from other companies was the fact that Intel conducted reviews of their vendors and service providers using a similar methodology to employee performance reviews. It was acceptable to ask a vendor at his yearly review – “How would you rate your performance on a scale of 10?”
In the United States only 16% of clinicians ask their patients about their expectations for the outcome of treatment. Denmark is the world leader with 31%, the UK 13.4% and Israel closing the league with only 6.7% percent of Israeli physicians asking their patients about their expectations for their treatment.
A research study published in 2011 by Dr.Ronen Rozenblum from Harvard (together withe a team) entitled “Uncovering the blind spot of patient satisfaction: an international survey” shows that to achieve a high level of patient satisfaction, healthcare providers need to identify and address patients’ expectations. However, providers’ beliefs and attitudes regarding expectations, as well as how to manage them, are not well understood.
Dr. Ronen Rozenblum says:
There is a mistaken impression that good food and a nice building are important for a treatment facility but in fact – the external conditions are far less important than the relationship between clinician and patient.
In recent years, medical centers around the world are revising their priorities in addition to the quality of care, to emphasize the patient and his experience in the hospital.
The blind spot of patient expectations
While clinicians think it is important to ask patients about their expectations, they often fail to do so and consequently may not respond adequately. These results identify a ‘blind spot’ in clinicians’ approach when attempting to address patient expectations and improve patient satisfaction, suggesting that healthcare organisations should take a more active role in increasing clinicians’ awareness and initiating structured training programmes to cope with patient expectations.
Research shows that a modest investment in raising the awareness of the clinician to the importance of the patients’ expectations and needs, does wonders to increasing patient satisfaction and success of treatment outcomes.
Dr. Ehud Davidson, head of Clalit Healthcare Services’ Hospitals Division (Clalit is the biggest Israeli HMO) says that they realizat the importance of customer service and understanding the patient as a consumer, his needs and expectations.
Israel’s public health service is one of the best in the world from the standpoint of medical excellence, but along with the clinical excellence, many Israeli patients complain about the quality of the way hospital staff relate to patients, or rather – the lack of relating to patients.
Clalit has decided to improve their relationships with patients and recently conducted a survey of patient satisfaction in 14 hospitals managed by Clalit in Israel – Dr. Davidson says dryly “We have the impression that patients don’t receive enough attention in our hospitals from the staff, and in particular from the physicians. We are trying to improve the situation“.
- Increase patient confidence
- Give you complete privacy
- Increased compliance
- Better outcomes