How to Raise Patient Satisfaction Scores

by | Sep 16, 2019 | Healthcare Industry, Leadership

Perhaps you’ve wondered what new technology, or procedure, or innovative treatment can increase the quality of care your patients receive. Maybe you’ve struggled with the investment, uncertain of the ROI a given exploratory opportunity may bring.

Well, you’re in luck. Research done by HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) shows that when it comes to patient satisfaction scores, some of the most impactful things you can do are completely free. HCAHPS is the industry’s gold standard when it comes to patient experience surveys.

Emphasize Respect

When considering your patient satisfaction scores, an essential component is the respect you give to your patients. Prioritizing respect may seem strange because it’s not a traditional KPI such as waiting times, confidentiality scores, or even cleanliness metrics. However, how you make a patient feel is as quantifiable to them as any other performance metric devised.

Make the Experience Positive 

It is impossible to receive a perfect rating but a patient is more likely to leave your practice raving reviews if the overall impression was positive. Your patient may only wait a handful of minutes and still offer a positive score. If your nurse is not kind, doesn’t make eye contact, or lacks concern, the negative experiences will leave a lasting imprint. 

Keep your Employees Happy

Employee satisfaction and patient care go hand-in-hand. According to the Advisory Board Company’s 2015 Employee Engagement Survey, for every one-percent increase in employee engagement, an organization’s overall hospital HCAHPS rating increased by 33%. Also, a patients’ willingness to recommend the hospital increased by 25%.

Communicate Clearly and Effectively

Another significant component of improving your patient scores is how you communicate with your staff and to your patients. Miscommunication between doctors, staff, and administration can lead to the patient believing that they are receiving inadequate care. Have systems in place to connect parties in contact with the patient to share scheduled and complete care updates. A well-informed patient is more likely to report a positive experience.

Offer A Clean Lobby or Waiting Area

Be sure to present a clean environment for your patients–no sticky floors, stained cushions, wobbly furniture, or torn reading material. Cleanliness mentally equates to high standards, so first impressions go a long way in patient perceptions.


Teach your staff to apologize for long wait times. According to a study done by Software, patients said they would be less frustrated or not frustrated at all if their physician apologized for their wait.

When your staff genuinely care for your patients and seeks to make every aspect of their experience top-notch, patient satisfaction scores improve dramatically.


  1. Eighty percent of respondents said information about their wait time would either completely or somewhat minimize their frustration.
  2. Seventy percent said a personal apology from their physician would completely or somewhat minimize their frustration.
  3. Free internet in the waiting room would completely or somewhat minimize frustration for 60 percent of respondents.
  4. About 40 percent said they would be willing to see another physician if it meant a shorter waiting time.
  5. Patients are evenly split in waiting location preference, with one third preferring an exam room, one third preferring the general waiting room and one third indicating no preference.
  6. Almost 40 percent of female respondents said they would prefer to wait in a private exam room, compared to almost 30 percent of male respondents.
  7. Fifteen percent of patients wait more than 30 minutes to see a physician.
  8. About 20 percent of patients would be willing to pay an extra fee for quicker service. 9. Ninety-seven percent of patients are frustrated by wait times.

            (Source: 9 steps Via Beckers Review)

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