When the Affordable Care Act was passed, the law created something known as the Partnership for Patients. The program is aimed at reducing hospital acquired conditions and readmissions while improving the relationship between healthcare professionals and patients. Hospitals that fail to improve Medicare patient services will receive less money. Private insurers are likely to follow Medicare’s lead. Needless to say, hospitals are busy instituting programs to ensure patients are having positive experiences.
Research shows that employee satisfaction is central to improving patient outcomes. Some point to the experience of Southwest Airlines, whose outstanding success is often attributed to a corporate culture that encourages fun, creativity and fairness. While Southwest promotes the concept “employees first, customers second,” the company has the highest level of customer satisfaction of any airline. Southwest understands that happy employees are more likely to spread that happiness to customers.
While running an airline can be stressful, it can’t compare to the pressure, stress and burnout hospital workers deal with on a daily basis. That said, studies show that low-quality work environments lead to lower patient satisfaction levels. Conversely, higher employee satisfaction leads to desirable patient outcomes, improved care quality and increased patient loyalty.
To achieve these goals, researchers make several recommendations. These include promoting a family-like atmosphere among employees while publically recognizing milestones and achievements. Managers should involve employees in the decision-making process and open the lines of communication between physicians and non-physician staff.
Physicians who are disrespectful, make negative comments or treat patients disrespectfully generate resentment and dissatisfaction. When an employee feels like a valuable team member and feels respected by others, higher levels patient satisfaction result.