In today’s consumer market, people are not only looking for the best price for what want, but also the best quality for his or her dollar; health care is no different. The consumer is more educated and particular than ever when determining where they would entrust their health care needs. Word-of-mouth is no longer enough, so people are turning to research firms to help them make their final decision in finding quality care. Consumers are also looking for as many perks and additional services they can receive. Why go to a traditional hospital that only treats the immediate problem then sends a patient back home without aftercare information and support? Specialty, additional, and non-traditional services provided can set a facility apart from others, and provide a higher standard of quality care in specified areas that may appeal to a patients’ need.
How do health care facilities and staff improve upon existing services? Patient satisfaction surveys conducted by external research firms such as from DSS research (www.dssresearch.com) can help improve quality of patient experience from the entire facility experience down to specifics such including costs and treatment by staff. Results from research firms help consumers determine what facilities would best suite them with their current and future needs or those of a loved one they are responsible for.
Surveys are not only conducted by patients, but also physicians, and staff also. For example, 32.5% of the scoring for the top 10 ranking hospitals in the U.S.in 2009 is based on physician input (Comarow, 2009). Every patient or staff member who completes these quality surveys provides facility administrators the information they need to focus on the areas needing improvement. These results may lead to additional staff training, restructuring, or improvements to the esthetics of the facility.
When a patient is in need of emergency care for a cardiac problem, the emergency medical technician (EMT) may ask the patient or a family member what hospital he or she would prefer to be transported to if there is an option. An expectant mother sometimes has several choices of hospital to delivery her baby at through her provider. A person with a chronic condition may want to choose a specific facility to be seen at for his or her condition. Because patients do need to make these decisions, looking into a facility’s availability of specialty, additional and non-traditional services becomes very important to the quality of that patients’ care.
Staffing availability and qualifications along facility affiliations affect quality of care. Informed patients want to be seen by doctors and facilities that have the specialty training in their area of need. Peace of mind adds to the quality of care if the patient knows there are options open to him or her through the affiliations between his or her doctors and the hospitals they are contracted with through insurance companies. Cooperative care between affiliated personal physicians, specialty physicians, and health care facilities through the use of current technologies also increases the peace of mind of the patient and reduces risks to the parties involved.
Catering to patients’ personal preferences also adds to quality of experience in facilities. In recent years, doctors and hospitals and insurance companies have changed to their approaches to prenatal care and birthing. A family has numerous options open to them as far as what type of provider they choose for prenatal care and the type of facility and birth experience they want to have. As at Baptist Memorial Hospital, quite a few hospitals’ maternity rooms are used for labor, delivery, recovery, and postpartum care (U.S. Health Care System, Axia), and some go even beyond to include water birthing rooms with special atmospheric conditions, such as, lighting, temperature, and sounds.
Quality is a subjective term, one person may highly recommend a facility or doctor, and another may have a negative opinion. The most important thing to do is to research beforehand, and give feedback through surveys after the experience. Health care quality can only change and improve with the help of everyone.
Axia College (2010), The U.S. Health System, p194
Dss research, www.dssresearch.com
Comarow, Avery (7-15-2009), America’s Best Hospitals: the 200-10 Honor Roll “They’re the best of the best-the 0.4 percent of all hospitals with high scores in 6 or more specialties” written for U.S. News & World Report
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