Speaker: Improve patient experience for better outcomes, job satisfaction
ORLANDO, Fla. — Many factors are making patient experience more important in nephrology clinics, including clinical and economic advantages for nephrologists that focus on the improvement of the patient experience, according to a presenter at the Renal Physicians Association Annual Meeting.
“Some changes are easy, and some are not, but there are benefits for both patients and physicians,” Michelle M. Richardson, PharmD, CPXP, said here.
Richardson is a member of the special and scientific staff in the William B. Schwartz Division of Nephrology at Tufts Medical Center and is an assistant professor of medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine.
“The reality, although we don’t feel this way, is that patient experience is starting to take a huge role in health care,” she said.
She said patient experience originated a part of the triple aim — population health, experience of care and per capita cost. The Institute of Health Care Improvement has taken this on and CMS is integrating the triple aim in its efforts for a coherent approach to solve a fragmented and costly health care system.
She said to think about patient experience in the broad sense and the many factors that influence a patient during the treatment, all of which are shaped by an organization’s culture and influenced by the patient’s perceptions across the continuum of care. It is different than patient satisfaction, as patient experience gets away from subjectivity of satisfaction.
She said regulatory trends have moved patient experience to the forefront. Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) exists for a wide range of clinical areas and there will more CAHPS in the future. CMS regulations also assess patient experiences. Market trends are also moving patient experience forward as with the call for transparency. Additionally, high deductible insurance plans have patients wanting to know more about their health care dollars as it comes out of their pockets, and an increasing amount of evidence has linked patient experience to clinical and economic outcomes.
Richardson said among the reasons why nephrologists should care about improving the patient experience include better clinical outcomes and adherence to treatment regimens, fewer 30-day readmission rates, better patient perception of care and improved reputation within the community. Economic reasons include less risk of medical malpractice lawsuits and increased likelihood that the patient will stay with the provider. Improving patient experience has also been shown to decrease employee turnover and increase job satisfaction, she said.
“When people are satisfied with their jobs, they are going to stay and that has benefits for everyone. It improves systems and enables us to give better care,” Richardson said.
In addition to obtaining clinical goals, improving patient experience enables health care providers to view patients as people and taking care of them with the best care possible.
“One of the good things about the triple aim and [the] way it is taking us is that it reminds us that people in the dialysis chairs and people coming into our offices to visit us are people and their experiences matter. And we just can’t just think of this clinical domain. It is actually all one big piece,” Richardson said.
Richardson said that the questions on the CAHPS Survey focus on communication, and there are numerous opportunities for nephrologists to improve their scores by taking a critical look at their communication practices and efforts in their patient interactions. – by Kristine Houck, MA, ELS
Richardson MM. Improving the patient experience. Presented at: Renal Physicians Association Annual Meeting; March 15-18, 2018; Orlando, Fla.
Disclosure: Richardson reports no relevant financial disclosures.