Saturday, October 25, 2008

Customer Satisfaction

So, I know I've harped about this to multiple associates of mine for years now... but I couldn't help but have my rage stoked anew when I walked by the cafeteria, and there, in a shiny glass case with track lighting (like an exhibit of fine art) were color printouts of the graphs depicting the "improvement" in "Overall Patient Satisfaction" in our various departments.

The administration was apparantly quite proud of the bold increase from 58% to 62%.  But who else is going to be?

Any physician should look at such a display and belly-laugh over the absurdity of trying to treat a hospital like Dillard's.  Any patient should look at a number that translates into an "F" and wonder what kind of shit-can their mom has been admitted to.

I wonder.... what are the national averages for "overall patient satisfaction"?  What is a reasonable number to expect?  The surveys allow responses from 1 to satis"FIVE" (I seriously have to suppress the vomit everytime I hear that).  So if a patient had a pretty good experience, but the scent of feces wafting into their room knocked it down to a 4 out of 5, that's 80%.  (B minus).  


I honestly don't know if there is any sort of compensation/reimursement tied to this absurd metric.  What would happen it it actually became 100%?  I am fairly certain 100% patient satisfaction is synonymous with any of the following:

1. Falsification of data.
2. The return of only 2 surveys for that month.
3. Bad consumer-based medicine being practiced.

I wonder how many cumulative dollars are spent nationwide by hospitals trying to make this number look pretty?  

Press-Ganey must laugh their way to the bank every single day.