5 Ways to Motivate Physicians to Improve Patient Satisfaction
As patient satisfaction becomes more closely tied to healthcare organizations’ reimbursement from Medicare, Medicaid and health insurance companies, it’s more important than ever to ensure everyone on the team is working together so patients leave satisfied with the care they’ve received. Motivating physicians is one way to improve patient satisfaction; it’s vital that your physicians are on board and working toward that common goal.
Here are five ways to motivate physicians to improve patient satisfaction:
1. Improve Appointment Scheduling
Physicians often report they don’t get to spend enough time with patients. Half of physicians spend 16 minutes or less with each patient, says Nicholas Newsad, Co-Owner and Co-Founder of Healthcare Transaction Advisors.
Relative Value Unit production models encourage physicians to see as many patients as possible. “It can feel like a strain to ask them to do more with so little time,” Newsad says, so look for ways to improve scheduling so physicians can spend more time with each patient.
2. Remove Administrative Responsibilities
Physicians didn’t get into the field to fill out paperwork; they want to help people. “In today's environment, most physicians want to focus on their patients and be removed from the administrative burdens the system has placed on them,” says Phil Geissinger, President of PGConsulting LLC.
Find ways to remove administrative and financial responsibilities from physicians so they can put all of their efforts into patient care. Doing so increases patient and physician satisfaction, Geissinger says.
3. Get to the Root Cause of Dissatisfaction
If your physicians are disengaged and unhappy, find out why. The recent changes in healthcare management have weighed heavily on many practitioners and administrators alike. “What I thought for a long time was real anger turned out to be feeling vulnerable,” says Dr. Kent Bottles, Chief Medical Officer of PYA Analytics and a Consulting Principal at PYA. “Physicians thought they had paid their dues and would not have to scrabble this much to maintain their lifestyle.”
Bottles says that when he realized the difference, he was better able to help physicians become motivated in patient satisfaction, meeting quality metrics and making changes necessary to cope with the transformation of the American healthcare delivery system.
4. Identify Leaders
Pick some high-performing physicians who others look up to and designate them as leaders. “With more and more physicians becoming employed in group practices and becoming employees of integrated delivery systems, I have found that identifying and nurturing a few physician champions works,” Bottles says.
He also says he finds many physicians don’t know what others are doing to be successful, and they enjoy learning from their peers. “They do not like learning from coaches, psychologists and other non-physician experts,” Bottles says. “Physicians are competitive and will respond as long as I supply both the why they have to change and the tools they need to change.”
5. Separate Out Factors in Patient Satisfaction Ratings
Patient satisfaction is affected by things beyond a physician’s control, such as how long they wait on hold when they call or how long they have to wait in the waiting room. Holding physicians responsible for patient satisfaction can feel unfair when ratings include metrics such as these, Newsad says. Find ways to break out patient satisfaction with physicians to get the real picture.
While physicians are only a part of the patient satisfaction equation, they’re an essential one. It’s worth the effort for healthcare organizations to find ways to motivate physicians because once motivated, their example and attitude can motivate others on staff to follow suit.