5 Fundamentals of a Great Hospital Patient Satisfaction Program

2 min read
Apr 10, 2024 8:47:17 AM

To be competitive, hospitals must create and sustain a culture of service excellence.  A service excellence playbook will include strategy, people, process, technology and benchmarking. 


Organizations that achieve excellence in patient satisfaction make this area of focus a part of their organization’s strategy.  Everyone in the company needs to know that patient satisfaction is a top priority.  The point of emphasis starts at the top. Leadership team meetings regularly have patient satisfaction on the agenda. Most organizations have an enterprise-wide champion followed by operating unit and department champions. 

Clarity of key performance indicators (KPIs) is essential.  Quarterly- and often monthly- analyses are reviewed with performance improvement initiatives identified and reviewed against key metrics. Organizations with world-class results tend to over-communicate up and down the organization often, emphasizing that everyone has a role to play in driving excellence and highlighting case examples of success.  Customer input is leveraged to identify and implement best practices via focus groups, advisory councils, and other venues where actual customers can help shape and refine the organization’s strategy over time. 


The second fundamental is people.  Organizations with world-class patient satisfaction performance recruit and select the best talent that aligns to the mission and strategy of driving excellence in patient satisfaction as a top strategic priority. 

Employee engagement is critical, as cross-industry data demonstrate a clear association between employee engagement and patient/customer satisfaction. Rewards and recognition are aligned to celebrate success for individual, as well as team contributions and success.  Coaching and development is available at all levels, so that individuals and teams can learn from one other, within and outside of the organization. 


The third fundamental is process.  Measure, manage, and continuously improve are the key themes.  Organizations need a regular cadence of measuring patient satisfaction, with timely follow up to manage performance improvement opportunities. 

We see many organizations focus most of their time on quantitative findings, yet there are deep insights in the qualitative data, wherein patients and their families provide rich feedback on the “why” behind the score. Oftentimes this feedback pinpoints the key areas of underperformance with specific examples of what happened and what could have been done differently. World-class organizations focus on both quantitative and qualitative data and insights to drive continuous improvement. 

Finally, best practices in process should be regularly discussed and shared across hospital systems so that departments can adopt refinements that are delivering new results and success can be celebrated. 


Fourth, organizations need enabling technology to drive excellence in patient satisfaction.  Omni channel (phone, email, webchats, SMS, messaging, social media) integration is critical. 

With the rise and adoption of technological innovation at both the organizational and consumer level, organizations need to measure and manage patient satisfaction with integrated and seamless touchpoints, listening points, and modes of data collection and data management, all focused on timely continuous improvement for both patients and their families.    


Finally, within industry and cross-industry benchmarking can make a big difference.  World-class companies not only compare their performance to within-industry standards but often look for innovation and best practices outside of their industry. 

Hospital patient satisfaction provides no exception.  Relative to other sectors of the economy, hospital patient satisfaction results trail numerous industries in relation to delivering exceptional customer care/exemplary patient satisfaction. 

The root cause(es) is multi-factorial in nature, yet hospitality and other sectors can provide time-tested best practices to help organizations take their patient satisfaction results to the next level.    


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