The Patient Satisfaction Survey Score

 Here is an article that addresses a common issue found in today’s healthcare setting.  The Patient Satisfaction Score, although a great idea, has become an albatross around the necks of all healthcare workers.  It is one thing to practice a patient-centered nursing, which is good; but it is another thing to turn nurses into maids and servants who are desperate to please.  Sometimes what the patient wants is not what the patient needs to improve his health and denial of his wants can be reflected in the patient satisfaction score.

There is not a nurse alive who goes to work and says, “I am going to make my patients very unhappy today by denying them all their requests.”  To think there is such a nurse is just plain stupidity.  Nurses are there to administer care while a patient is unable to do so for himself and while his condition warrants close monitoring.  All nurses want their patients to be happy and healthy, but there is also a reason why the patient is in the hospital to begin with.  Nurses have to walk that fine line between wants and needs all day long.

Please read this article and see if you agree or disagree that Patient Satisfaction Scores are becoming a real problem in the healthcare arena.


The Problem With Satisfied Patients

A misguided attempt to improve healthcare has led some hospitals to focus on making people happy, rather than making them well.

patient satisfaction
Philippe Wojazer/Reuters
When healthcare is at its best, hospitals are four-star hotels, and nurses, personal butlers at the ready—at least, that’s how many hospitals seem to interpret a government mandate.When Department of Health and Human Services administrators decided to base 30 percent of hospitals’ Medicare reimbursement on patient satisfaction survey scores, they likely figured that transparency and accountability would improve healthcare. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) officials wrote, rather reasonably, “Delivery of high-quality, patient-centered care requires us to carefully consider the patient’s experience in the hospital inpatient setting.” They probably had no idea that their methods could end up indirectly harming patients.

Beginning in October 2012, the Affordable Care Act implemented a policy withholding 1 percent of total Medicare reimbursements—approximately $850 million—from hospitals (that percentage will double in 2017). Each year, only hospitals with high patient-satisfaction scores and a measure of certain basic care standards will earn that money back, and the top performers will receive bonus money from the pool.

Patient-satisfaction surveys have their place. But the potential cost of the subjective scores are leading hospitals to steer focus away from patient health, messing with the highest stakes possible: people’s lives.
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