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How Can We Improve Patient Satisfaction?

Patient satisfaction is the focal point of healthcare. It’s the ultimate way to measure the effectiveness of a facility and the quality of practitioners. High patient satisfaction means strong patient retention and reduced risk of malpractice. Over the years, facilities have started to take patient satisfaction more seriously. A clinician’s CMS reimbursement depends on patient satisfaction scores via the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey. Poor HCAHPS scores result in loss in funds for both facilities and underperforming physicians. However, constant innovation and strong communications are ways to maintain high patient satisfaction in the radiology department.

George Washington University Hospital’s division director of radiological operations, Mark S. Lerner, RT, has implemented AIDET, a patient satisfaction model. The program stands for: Acknowledge, Introduce, Duration, Explanation, and Thank you. His technologists are instructed to greet their patients by making eye contact and using their name. They then tell the patient their background, training, and skill set. Lerner advises technologists to give transparent explanations of the imaging exam process and expectations and the physician’s timeline. There’s a strong element of graciousness in these patient interactions, and at the end of the visit, technologists thank the patient and his or her family members for choosing the hospital.

Similarly, at the University of Virginia Health System, assistant professor of radiology Jason N. Itri, MD, PhD, has devised a protocol for synching up a patient’s image reading with their physician appoints. For example, if a patient just had an imaging procedure and they’re slated to see their doctor in the afternoon, the scheduling system would let the physician know to read the study before the visit.

“No patient is going to be happy if a report isn’t available when it is needed—and being patient-centered in our strategies means making allowances for personal requirements,” Itri told Radiology Business.

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