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EPtalk by Dr. Jayne 6/9/16

June 9, 2016 News No Comments

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Thanks to everyone who sent well-wishes about my recent hand injury. I’m happy to report that I’m recovering and have traded out the giant dressing for something more sleek – today I sported a Mickey Mouse themed bandage. I’m seeing patients tomorrow and am a bit nervous about hand hygiene, but our infection control nurse is on board with a plan. I’ll also be running with a scribe, so that will help. Laughter is good medicine and I appreciated one reader’s comment that at least I wouldn’t need to buy a foam finger to cheer my team at the ballpark.

From Florida Orange: “I was reading your post and this sentence jumped out at me: “I know my practice leans heavily towards patient satisfaction scores for determining provider compensation, and the idea that giving patients what they need (rather than what they want) can impact me negatively is always a consideration.” How is satisfaction calculated? HCAHPS scores? Press Ganey? Or Yelp reviews? And what factors make up patient satisfaction?” The methods used vary depending on whether an organization is a hospital or ambulatory group. I’ve actually seen groups use all of the above to assess patient satisfaction, plus other strategies such as anonymous waiting room surveys, online surveys, and more.

In my largely ambulatory world, the factors that come into play include: satisfaction with contacting the office (which may include appointment scheduling and availability); wait time in the office; friendliness and helpfulness of staff; whether patients felt their diagnosis and treatment was explained to their satisfaction; willingness to recommend the office to other patients; and more. My practice uses a third-party survey service that emails a link to the patient and we can see responses via a practice dashboard. They’re not anonymous and we contact anyone who doesn’t give us at least four out of five stars overall or offers narrative comments that are concerning.

Everyone likes getting good reviews, and the percentage of four- and five-star reviews impacts our bonus calculation, as does our ability to care for patients in a timely manner when they arrive. As a member of the executive team, I get an email notification when a patient activates the survey link. Sometimes this happens when I know the patient has to be driving home from the visit, which is amusing. All of our patients are emailed the survey at the time of check-out, even those that we know had less than optimal experiences. The times when we didn’t’ do well are the most important for learning and we really need that feedback.

Different organizations weigh the impact of their results in different ways. I worked with an organization a few years ago that lived and died by their Press Ganey statistics, even when the results didn’t make sense as far as supporting the organization’s overall goals. As organizations evolve along with our changing healthcare system, it’s going to be increasingly important for groups to evaluate their survey strategies on a regular basis. If processes have been improved and responses are flat, maybe it’s time to measure different elements.

Patient engagement is an increasing part of patient satisfaction, and at last week’s ONC Annual Meeting they launched a Patient Engagement Playbook. It’s designed to help organizations improve patient engagement via patient portal usage. The first phase encourages clients through the critical steps of making enrollment easy; activating features that patients want; allowing proxy access for caregivers; and integrating patient-generated health data. Physicians often resist the last item, so if you work with those who might fall into that category, a quick read might be in order.

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From Jimmy the Greek: “OK, Dr. Jayne, tell me why this patient portal view of lab results is useless. That’s right, campers, there’s no ‘normal range’ displayed.  Just how the hell is a non-clinician supposed to interpret these values?  Should I turn to Dr. Google?  Should I make a follow-up appointment with my doc to talk through the results?  Should I expect a phone call to discuss them? I have loads of data, but no way to turn the data points into useful information.” This goes right along with my recent post about trends in organizational patient portal release policies. The mere fact of releasing labs to patients doesn’t necessarily empower them, and without the right supporting information can lead to patient frustration or worry. I don’t immediately recognize this vendor, so I can’t tell whether there are other features that would help the patient understand their results such as hovering over them, but from other correspondence, Jimmy seems to be a pretty astute IT guy and would likely have picked up on something like that.

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Aprima is hosting its annual User Conference at the Omni Dallas Hotel August 5-7th. A piece on their blog caught my eye, since it quoted a client from a practice named “Serenity Now Psychiatric and Counseling Services.” That’s probably one of the best practice names I’ve seen in a long time. The write up also caught my eye since they’re offering a service project where attendees can assist with making blankets, gift bags, and other items for patients at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas. I love seeing companies help the community.

Are you a vendor who gives back? Email me.

Email Dr. Jayne

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