As a father of two young children and a wife who was diagnosed with an auto immune disorder, I have spent my fair share of time in the emergency room.  My experience, for the most part, has been quite pleasant; however, I am reminded that the occasional hiccups do occur and more often than not they can cause others to have a negative experience.

For the past 5 years, I have had the privilege of working with many emergency departments across the country, but more specifically, I have had the opportunity to work directly with nurse managers and nurse directors who set forth goals and strategies to improve patient satisfaction.  From my experience and feedback that I assessed, the situation of patient satisfaction is almost the same as a customer service at any restaurant or hotel, where excessive waiting, excessive payment and a bad experience with the staff can make matters worse entirely.

The following are 5 ways that can directly affect the patient experience.

Wait Times

Of the numerous complaints, the most common is the wait times.  From the time you walk through the door to the time you see a doctor, wait times appear critical for the patient experience. By imploring a work flow that eliminates downtime, you can directly affect patient satisfaction.

Proper Introductions

Another common complaint is the patients not being informed who their doctor is. Making clear and proper introduction of the doctor responsible for the case can increase patient satisfaction immensely.

Acknowledge the Family

Many patients complain that the doctors did not even look at their companion, be it wives, husbands or other family members. A little introduction can go a long way and it will only take a second if they acknowledge the friends or family members accompanying the patient.

Listen to the Patient

When doctors attend to a patient, often they let their impatience show through when the patient is speaking. By being tolerant and not anticipating or interrupting the patient as he or she speaks, the level of patient satisfaction can be greatly improved.

Inform the Patient

At the end of the physical and historical assessment with the patient, a doctor can let the patient know what the initial diagnosis he or she has deduced. By informing the patient of what they believe could or could not be the problem, how they are working on narrowing it down to specification, and whether they are considering patient’s admission or discharge, the physician can help the patient and the family plan accordingly.

An improved patient satisfaction can lead an emergency room on a path to being one of the best. Let us know your comments in the section below!