For many physicians practices and large hospitals around the world, patient satisfaction has always been important in running an efficient, positive organization. The experience that a patient has while under care of a specific practice can give major insight to the quality of healthcare that a specific practice offers.

I believe there are numerous ways that orthopedic surgeons doing hip and knee replacement surgery can increase the satisfaction of their patients. First off, it is pertinent that the doctor communicates with their patient in a way that is easy to comprehend.

I have had various encounters with physicians who completely threw me for a loop when discussing the situation at hand. When relaying important information to the patient, a doctor must be sure provide the patient with information they can process and be sure to verify understanding after each point has been discussed.

By using the “chunking and checking” method, doctors can be assured to improve their patient satisfaction as they patients will be able to coherently follow along. For instance, as most surgical procedures will result in the patient being prescribed pain medicine, it is key the doctor uses specific language while providing location and event based instructions.

When doctors choose to communicate with their patients in a vague way, people often leave the practice confused and end up misusing the product prescribed. A patient would be more likely to remember to take pain medication if the doctor were to say “take your pain medicine before breakfast and after dinner,” compared to “take your pain medicine twice a day.”

When patients are provided with specific instructions, they are more likely to recall them after leaving the practice which will lead to a more progressive recovery and higher patient satisfaction score. Secondly, to improve patient satisfaction practices should create the perception of adequate time. Although it can be tough as a doctor tends to several different patients, patient satisfaction would be increased dramatically if appointments started on time.

After arriving for a set appointment, if the patient is seen within 15 minutes of the set time, they are likely to be more compliant compared to waiting 1-2+ hours. In addition, having a happy, positive staff who enjoy patient interactions will create a more welcoming atmosphere for the patients. The quality of the practice will improve and when signing on people who have a joy for what they do there will be less rates of employee turnovers.

Lastly, I believe it is important the doctor shows a earnest concern for the patient they are attending. Most doctors fail to utilize the important strategy of not only listening with the ears but the eyes as well. When doctors are focused on a computer screen or some other object while the patient is conversing their feelings, it can sometimes come across to the patient as a lack of interest or concern.

Physicians must be sure to be empathetic with their patients which ultimately come across as a sign of respect and genuine interest. There are several ways hospitals and physician practices can work to improve patient satisfaction, but I believe these are some most important issues patients, like myself, face on a daily basis.

2016 Scholarship Finalist

Tamija D

Lake Placid, Florida

The final question on the application was an essay question.
The essay question was:

How can orthopedic surgeons doing hip and knee replacement surgery improve patient satisfaction?

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