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How Healthcare Facilities Can Improve Patient Satisfaction

By Sue Pi and John D'Angelo April 2014 - Health Care Facilities

We've all done the same thing; we judge a place from the moment we lay eyes on it. Before a service experience even begins, we usually have already decided whether we will be returning to the establishment. As simple as it sounds, understanding the connection between the physical appearance of a facility and patient satisfaction can have a lasting impact on both a hospital's performance and its ability to provide exceptional community health. Here's how healthcare facilities can improve patient satisfaction.

Given the financial resources, most hospital leaders would redo their entrances to create a unique and magnificent first impression. In fact, so much attention is paid to making the first impression "unique" and "magnificent" that hospital leaders miss the opportunity to create an outstanding lasting impression. Patients spend less than one percent of their hospital time in the lobby, and yet hospitals seem to spend a large percentage of their leadership focus and financial resources there. Spending just a little bit less of both on the lobby will allow an increase in leadership focus and financial support to the other areas where patients spend 99 percent of their time: inpatient rooms, operating rooms, outpatient clinics, exam/procedure rooms, and support areas. In addition, other non-clinical areas like public circulation, elevator banks, check-in and reception counters, and administrative areas contribute to the patient's perception.

Top-tier hospitals understand that first impressions set the stage for outstanding Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) scores, but the real challenge is to carry those patient experience victories throughout the rest of the stay. For example, a dirty bathroom, scarred and chipped furnishings, and dirty ceiling tiles not only send the message that the hospital cares merely about the front door, but also present infection control risks. Many hospitals don't know how to address these issues because without true owners, no one prioritizes the funding necessary to correct these problems.


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On FacilitiesNet: healthcare facilities, patient satisfaction, wayfinding systems, facility design

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