Patient satisfaction plays a pivotal role in the success of healthcare organizations—particularly in an age when value-based care (VBC) models have become more commonplace. Beyond direct financial impacts due to lower payouts, poor patient satisfaction scores can have a significant impact on the success of a healthcare organization. From a tarnished reputation to legal repercussions, the stakes are higher than ever.

Why Patient Satisfaction Surveys and Scores Are Important

In today's ever-changing healthcare landscape, best-in-class healthcare organizations have one thing in common: high patient satisfaction scores. More and more practices are implementing patient satisfaction surveys with a variety of end goals in mind:

  • Reduce patient turnover

  • Improve online ratings and reviews

  • Attract new patients through word-of-mouth

  • Lower the risk of malpractice suits

  • Discover hidden grievances

  • Understand and eliminate bottlenecks

  • Improve payouts within VBC systems

What Factors Affect Patient Satisfaction Survey Scores?

It may seem that a healthcare practitioner's bedside manner, diagnosis, treatment or patient health outcome would play the biggest factor in patient satisfaction scores—but one large study found otherwise. A Vanguard study published in the Journal of Medical Practice Management assessed over 35,000 patient reviews and found that office disorganization, poor communication and excessive wait times were the biggest cause for complaint. And all three factors have one thing in common: They likely stem (at least in part) from issues with patient flow management.

What is Patient Flow and How Does It Impact Patient Satisfaction Survey Results?

Patient flow is essentially the movement of patients through a healthcare facility. This includes the interaction from the moment they walk up to check in to the final moment of check out or follow-up appointment scheduling. But it's what happens in the in-between that has the biggest impact on satisfaction: How long a patient spends waiting in the lobby or exam room. Good patient flow entails moving patients through the system quickly and effectively—without compromising the quality of care or patient experience.

As mentioned, patient flow has a stronger impact on patient satisfaction survey scores than practitioners might realize. Research showed that:

  • Higher wait times correlate with lower the ratings

  • 30% of patients say they have left a doctor's office because the wait was too long

  • 20% of patients say a long wait would make them reconsider their current provider

  • 84% of patients say that wait times are important to their overall experience with a healthcare provider

How a Patient Flow Solution Can Improve Your Patient Satisfaction Surveys

Improving patient flow is a great first step in improving patient satisfaction survey scores, because it tends to be an easier fix (as opposed to addressing something like a practitioner's bedside manner, for instance). Patient flow solutions can help—through a combination of light signaling panels, patient status monitors, and accompanying software and consulting to analyze resulting data. These systems provide instant visual cues and information to facility staff to help them quickly and effectively manage room sequencing, address bottlenecks in real time and prioritize patients based on elapsed wait times.

Watch the video below to see an example of a patient flow solution in action

The Expeditor LEAN Patient Flow solution is the only true, door-to-door patient flow solution on the market. In fact, Expeditor clients experience almost immediate ROI—saving time, increasing productive time with patients and boosting overall satisfaction. Request a free consultation today to see how Expeditor can help your healthcare organization.