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Debunking 3 Myths

Debunking 3 Myths About Improving Patient Satisfaction Scores

Topic: Debunking 3 Myths About Improving Patient Satisfaction Scores

Setting out to improve patient satisfaction scores is not always straightforward.

Quality improvement, and change management in general, can spark a lot of stakeholder pushback, giving rise to a series of common misconceptions. An initiative as elusive as improving the patient experience is no different.

But like most improvement projects, giving into those myths can have negative consequences, culminating in giving up on the project altogether. Being that patient satisfaction is a key clinical quality measure on which some reimbursement hinges, giving up on it as a priority is not in an organization’s best interest.

Below, PatientEngagementHIT outlines some common myths associated with improving patient satisfaction scores, and how providers can move forward instead.


Patient satisfaction and experience can be a discouraging topic for providers who think patients only care about the amenities, or the bells and whistles, during a healthcare experience. It can be disheartening for providers working in good faith to improve patient safety and outcomes when the patient is complaining about the cafeteria menu.

But therein lies the rub: it’s very few patients who actually care about that cafeteria menu. Most leading patient experience experts have found patients care entirely more about the relationships they have with their providers, and that their providers have with each other, than they do about amenities.

A 2017 analysis of HCAHPS scores from Press Ganey revealed that patients cared much more about patient-provider communication when filling out their surveys. HCAHPS survey questions associated with more top-box scores included:

  • Staff asking patients if they have help when patients are discharged into their homes
  • How well nurses explained healthcare concepts to patients and families
  • How well nurses appeared to listen to patients and families
  • Hospital room cleanliness

The analysis also showed that teamwork across different medical providers also influenced better HCAHPS scores.

“By providing a framework for staff and leadership to share in responsibility, problem solving and authority, multidisciplinary unit-based councils give everyone in the unit a voice in the way patients are cared for and how staff are treated, and the practice encourages accountability and ownership of patient care outcomes on the unit,” the Press Ganey wrote.

Topic Discussed: Debunking 3 Myths About Improving Patient Satisfaction Scores

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