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Patient Engagement and Experience Top Concerns for Hospital Executives

By Thomas Gole, DO, FAAFP31 May 2016


More than ever, patient engagement and experience are becoming a vital part of a hospital’s success. As the healthcare industry shifts its focus to more patient-centered, value-based outcomes, hospital leaders are looking for ways to improve patient engagement and experience.

With penalties mounting for hospital readmissions, and fines or payment reductions occurring for poor patient experience ratings, it’s no surprise that nearly half of hospital executives rate these things as top concerns.

Research from The Advisory Board Company shows that 47 percent of hospital executives wanted to address the challenges of the rising consumer expectations. Additionally, another 45 percent of those surveyed said they wanted to focus on patient engagement strategies.

Because hospitals are dealing with a push toward consumerization, many hospital executives are looking for ways to combine the usually conflicting forces of consumerization and more patient financial accountability, The Advisory Board Company’s chief medical officer told Patient Engagement HIT.

Other Concerns for Healthcare Executives

Avoiding care variation: Thanks to the increasing focus on alternative payment models, avoiding care variation for patients with the same condition is important for improving outcomes. Doing so, according to Healthcare Business Tech, can help a hospital meet the necessary benchmarks for value based care.

Care variation can be a big driver of costs as well. Reduce care variation by examining your data, which should include data from internal systems that provide reliable and consistent information like service line and unit reports, discharge records or any report that tracks the compliance to established care paths, according to the Miliken Institute’s FasterCures. In addition, partnering with payers or local employers may provide you with additional insight into payer data.

Once you have the necessary data, focus on the following questions from FasterCures:

  • How has utilization varied over time?
  • How does utilization vary across different locations in the system and/or units within the hospital?
  • How does utilization vary by physician within the hospital or system?

Developing consumer-focused pricing strategies: Though it wasn’t a top issue in this year’s survey, developing consumer-focused pricing strategies is an issue healthcare executives need to keep an eye on in the coming months, according to Healthcare Business Tech. These strategies can provide patients with an accurate estimate of charges for services, which can help improve patient experience. Just over a quarter (31 percent) of healthcare executives surveyed said developing these pricing strategies will be a major concern over time as patients start to view health care as a consumer choice, thanks to the changes brought about by health care reform.

These top healthcare concerns for hospital executives have a common thread — putting the patient first. By doing so, hospitals can reap the rewards of patient satisfaction and loyalty as well as the benefits of the emerging value-based payment models.

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