“Were you happy with your Experience?” We hear it all of the time and there is good reason for it. Think about your experience in a restaurant where you were not happy with the service. Businesses today utilize phrases like “happy customers are repeat customers” or “customer satisfaction is job one”. Simply put, if you are not happy with your visit, are you more likely or less likely to return or use their services, again? A rhetorical question certainly, but now the US government is also very interested in how satisfied you are as a patient, regarding your healthcare experiences. With the advent of the Affordable Healthcare Act, the Department of Health and Human Services has an initiative to change the standard fee for service reimbursement model. Going forward, the Medicare reimbursement model is poised to contain a patient satisfaction component (Source).
Tying patient satisfaction to a reimbursement model is going to have significant impacts within the healthcare industry. It is widely known that commercial care insurance payers frequently follow the model set forth by the government as it relates to Medicare. The United States has over 4,000 hospitals with yearly revenues topping 2 ½ billion dollars a year (Source). Changing the reimbursement model within the healthcare industry, beyond just hospitals, is going to be a significant undertaking in many distinct areas.
I’m not going to go on speaking to financial systems impact or discuss insurance claim clearinghouses that have the purpose of mapping to payor specific requirements or anything like that, here. What I would like cover is, how hospital systems or healthcare providers can influence and track patient satisfaction scores that will be reported after medical treatment has been completed. It seems like a daunting task, but in reality it really just makes simple sense. Imagine if you, as a healthcare provider, were able to ask the question “were you happy with your experience?” to a patient, consistently. You might say, we do that today through surveys, phone calls or email messages after each visit; how is that different? What we have identified, as a specific need, is the ability to manage patient satisfaction over the course of an entire medical treatment plan. Not just the single point of contact visits.
Imagine a scenario where a father is playing with his child in the driveway of their home, trips and falls and accidentally fractures his arm. He goes to the emergency room and is advised that a process of internally fixating the bone will be more effective than allowing the bone to try to heal on its own. That process requires outpatient surgery, which is another specific visit. Following that, a series of therapies will occur further followed by physician consult and often continuing with therapy until such a time as the physician clears the patient.
During each individual visit, the patient may or may not be asked how satisfied they were, at that time. However, there is no continuous and holistic view with regards to ongoing patient satisfaction throughout their medical treatment plan process. That is where Successful Outcome Journey (“SoJ”) comes into play. The SoJ provides a patient with a more integrated response mechanism regarding satisfaction to his or her providers. From a patient’s perspective, mobile application access provides feedback, as well as, can alert when appointments are upcoming, scheduling is necessary or additional treatments or modifications to the treatment plan process are needed.
Consistent communication operating in a collaborative environment between patients and their healthcare providers is a goal of the Successful Outcome Journey. Additionally, from a business perspective, real-time insight into a patient’s level of satisfaction and how it will impact their reimbursement model are just one of the primary goals of the Successful Outcome Journey.