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Report Confirms Consumer Selection is a Driving Force in Health Care Today

Monday, October 20, 2008 General News J E 4
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SOUTH BEND, Ind., Oct. 20 A new Press Ganey Associates,Inc. report released today confirms patients have heightened expectations oftheir health care experience and feel more empowered to choose where theyreceive care. Health care facilities must address satisfaction at all pointsof the patient experience to maintain and improve patient retention rates.The 2008 Physicians' Office Pulse Report: Patient Perspectives on AmericanHealth Care examines the experiences of more than 1.9 million patients treatedat nearly 8,500 offices nationwide.

This annual report finds that patients are most dissatisfied during the24 minute average wait time before seeing a physician. Specific low patientsatisfaction areas include registration, wait times, and treatment beforeseeing a doctor.

Another finding is that patients age 50 and older report the highestlevels of satisfaction. Patients ages 18-49 are the least satisfied and alsotend to proactively seek out information about health care options and play abigger role in decisions about their care. Additionally, these patients aremore sensitive to customer service and how they are treated throughout theirexperience.

"It is vital for physicians' offices to address the entire patientexperience -- from booking an appointment to paying the bill -- and make sureit is as easy and understandable as possible," said Lisa Cone-Swartz, vicepresident of medical practice and home health services at Press Ganey."Practices need to establish systems to ensure that patients' voices are beingheard. If they take the first step in getting patient feedback, physicians'offices can then develop tools to help improve the experience."

There are some basic steps physicians' offices can take to help addresspatient concerns and make experiences better:

"These are just a few suggestions," added Cone-Swartz. "The importantpart is that patients' needs are always first priority."

The 2008 Physician's Office Pulse Report: Patient Perspectives on AmericanHealth Care is available at http://www.pressganey.com/galleries/default-file/Physicians_Office_Pulse_Report_2008.pdf.

Lisa Cone-Swartz and the Yale Medical Group are available for comment uponrequest.

Case Study: Yale Medical Group

Yale Medical Group (YMG) in New Haven, Connecticut is one of the largestmulti-specialty group practices in the United States. It has a wide depth ofspecialties throughout the country, ranging from internal medicine tofertility centers. YMG has consistently struggled to implement a universalpatient satisfaction improvement program that can address patient satisfactionneeds across the network and in each individual office.

Dedicated to improving every patient's experience, YMG decided to launch anew plan focused on satisfaction. Individual offices made simple changes likecommunicating delays to patients and developing scripts to ensure that callsare answered in a consistent manner. Staff members started making personalizedcalls to patients to thank them for positive feedback or to address issuesraised during their visit.

Organization-wide initiatives included forming a service excellencecommittee to identify problems and developing a patient satisfaction Website.The Website provides an easy way for staff members to send improvement ideasand receive feedback.

These efforts have led to many improvements for YMG and, after 3 years,the group saw a 3-point increase in overall satisfaction. This improved YMG'ssatisfaction score to 90. YMG continues to implement better communicationtactics and strives for greater improvement.

Press Ganey Associates, Inc.

For more than 20 years, Press Ganey has been committed to providinginsight that allows health care organizations to improve the quality of carethey provide while improving their bottom-line results. The company offersthe largest comparative customer feedback databases, actionable data, solutionresources, and unparalleled consulting and customer service. Press Ganeycurrently partners with more than 7,000 health care facilities -- includingover 40% of U.S. hospitals -- to measure and improve the quality of theircare.The report also identifies the top five patient priorities: Priority 1: Sensitivity to patients' needs Priority 2: Overall cheerfulness of the practice Priority 3: Overall rating of care received during the visit Priority 4: Comfort and pleasantness of the exam room Priority 5: Waiting time in exam room before being seen by the care provider

SOURCE Press Ganey Associates, Inc.
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