By Dave deBronkart, Chief Patient Officer
To us this isn’t news – we hear it every day. But it always helps when there’s new evidence to support what common sense tells us.
Last month a new report from the Beryl Institute, the highly respected U.S. patient experience think tank, provided new evidence on the connection between patient happiness and access to their medical information: “Consumer perspectives on Patient Experience in the US.” It’s a free PDF, their periodic “PX Pulse” report on changing attitudes.
This time one question was “As a healthcare consumer, which of the following actions reflect meaningful participation in your care experiences?” Of the nine activities offered, only two were chosen by more than half of patients:
Participating in health decisions: 55%
Having open access to my medical records: 66%
Got that? Two thirds of survey respondents said access to their medical information gives them the feeling of meaningful participation in their experience as a patient.
Bringing rigor to patient experience
Beryl is a significant player in the US healthcare policy and economics ecosystem. Unlike most observers, from the beginning Beryl took pains to define what they mean by patient experience:
“We define the patient experience as the sum of all interactions, shaped by an organization’s culture, that influence patient perceptions across the continuum of care.”
Patient perceptions – across the continuum of care. That includes radiology, though most providers feel powerless to do anything about it … except burn a CD (which many patients can’t use).
Patient experience affects reimbursement – and outcomes.
In the US, the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems score (HCAHPS) is tied to government reimbursement rates. In short, you get paid more by Medicare and Medicaid for having happier patients. And it turns out that when you do things that make patients happy, outcomes tend to be better, too. See “Additional reading” links below.
Access can include images, not just text.
When most people think about patient access, they think about an ordinary patient portal (lab results etc) or one enhanced by OpenNotes, which lets patients see their clinicians’ actual visit notes. PocketHealth’s cloud image delivery system takes it beyond that, giving the patient a copy of their diagnostic images without requiring a CD. That adds an extra dimension of what 2/3 of patients want, according to the Beryl/Ipsos survey. Plus, it’s a vital part of helping them participate in decisions, which 55% want. It makes sense, doesn’t it?
Wouldn’t you love a way to improve patient happiness while decreasing (or even eliminating) your CD costs … and reducing face-to-face contact in the COVID-19 era?
Googling can show you many more articles about the connection between patient satisfaction / experience / happiness (dare we say love?) and business success. A few examples make the case:
- Patient experience and quality impacts on reimbursement: 5 things to know (Becker’s Hospital Review), including
- “Patient experience is directly associated with an organization’s brand reputation and ability to capitalize on market share”
- “The top performers from the patient experience perspective have the lowest avoidable readmissions”
- Better HCAHPS Scores Protect Revenue. (HealthLeaders)
- “Providing an excellent patient experience is tied more closely than ever to reimbursements.”
- HCAHPS scores: History, goals, and impacts (WoltersKlouwer).
- “As hospital reimbursements are increasingly tied to patient satisfaction surveys, healthcare providers have turned their attention to efforts to quantify and improve the patient care experience.”
- “There’s evidence that HCAHPS scores are also tied to favorable outcomes for patients.”