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Customer satisfaction in a hospital environment describes the degree to which patients are satisfied with the care and service received at a hospital. Factors that affect hospital customer satisfaction include the hospital environment, the quality of care received and the availability of services. Security, cost and quality of personal interactions can also have an effect.
Hospital customer satisfaction depends heavily on quality of care factors. This includes the experience, professionalism and expertise of clinical workers, including doctors, nurses and technicians. It can also include the types of services and technologies available at a given facility. Hospitals that hire highly qualified staff and use new or more efficient technologies are likely to have higher levels of hospital customer satisfaction.
The environment of the hospital can also play a critical role in hospital customer satisfaction. Above all, patients want to know that the facility is clean, sterile and safe, and that proper disease control procedures are followed consistently. They also, however, want patient rooms and common areas such as waiting rooms to be warm, comfortable and inviting. Services such as gift shops, patient meal services and visitor dining options can increase patient satisfaction as well.
Security is another primary concern for hospital customers. They want to know that their heath is in good hands, but also that their private information will be protected. Instilling confidence in a facility's data security can vastly impact hospital customer satisfaction. This includes publicizing confidentiality processes and providing private places where patients will not risk being overheard when discussing confidential personal or health-related information.
If the patient is paying for his own care, cost can be a major factor in hospital customer satisfaction. This includes both the actual cost of service and well as available payment options. If the patient has insurance, the primary economic factor will be whether the hospital accepts the patient's insurance and, possibly, whether the hospital is considered "in-network."
Personal interactions with hospital staff can also affect whether or not a patient is satisfied with an experience. This includes interactions by phone and in person, and also includes transactions that occur through electronic portals, such as hospital websites. Non-clinical healthcare workers, such as admissions and billing representatives should be sensitive to a patient's illness or condition and should be friendly, helpful and courteous at all times. Other non-clinical staff, such as food services workers and chaplains, can make a major difference in the quality of an individual's experience as well.
Really, it all comes down to care and cleanliness. Some hospitals are just filthy looking. Period. And a filthy hospital is usually a breeding ground for nasties like staph and MRSA.
Care rather covers the whole spectrum. Are nurses available to talk to families? Will they call the patient's doctor if necessary? Does someone answer call buttons promptly and courteously? If a patient requests something like a bath, how is that request handled? Are meals being served hot and on time? These are all aspects of care and part of helping a patient feel as though he or she has received good care from people who *do* care about their patients. Get the care issues nailed down, and chances are, you'll have satisfied patients and families.
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