Why the patient experience is crucial

 In Healthcare Trends

It's becoming increasingly important to make the patient experience a focal point of the medical product design strategy and health care in general. Providing quality care is a central tenet of the Affordable Care Act, and the health industry is rapidly shifting to adopt this practice of putting the patient first. 

Today's patients are demanding customer-friendly health care, and payers are rewarding care providers for keeping patients satisfied. New developments in product design and digital health are highlighting the importance of the overall patient experience as the key to breakthrough medical products. As Health Leaders Media reported, a growing number of peer-reviewed papers show that the patient's perception of care is a strong indicator of care quality. One 2011 study from the American Journal of Managed Care in particular made the connection between hospital readmission and the patient experience. Connecting with the patient and providing quality service is an important driver in the experience, which influences a patient's future treatment decisions. 

Jason Wolf, president of the Beryl Institute, stated in a recent press release, "The bottom line is that in no greater way has patient experience mattered than it does at this very moment." In its State of Patient Experience Benchmarking report, Beryl identified a growing trend in favor of superior patient-centric service in the health care industry. The focus on providing superior care is a global movement, encompassing small clinics, major hospitals, long-term care and home care. 

"The focus on providing superior care is a global movement."

What is the patient experience? 
However, many of these organizations don't share a clear definition for "patient experience." In its report, Beryl defines this as "the sum of all actions, shaped by an organization's culture, that influence patient perceptions across the continuum of care." Because of this, organizational practices for addressing the patient experience can vary by institution. 

Transparency and accountability
In the past, health care organizations placed more of an emphasis on volume of care delivery, while providing limited autonomy for patients, according to Health Leaders Media. Today's health care focuses on the process, outcome and perception of care provided, while granting patients far more choices in how they receive their treatment. 

The Medicare Access & CHIP Reauthorization Act, or MACRA, places a greater emphasis on patient satisfaction, and rewards doctors and providers that receive positive patient feedback. The way a provider treats patients is under scrutiny, and this rating can have positive or negative financial effects based on perception. 

Leadership and culture
Organizational investment in patient experience is growing. Health care leaders are taking steps to bring this structure into the light, and developing cultures that center around it. These leaders are using the quality of care as a shared mission, and developing professional adherence to stricter care expectations.

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