FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
WASHINGTON, D.C.-- Greg Burke, M.D., FACP, a chief patient experience officer, Geisinger Health System, will be one of three invited speakers in the “Enhancing the Patient Experience” panel at U.S. News & World Report’s Healthcare of Tomorrow Summit in Washington on Thursday, Nov. 3.
The panel will explore the practices shown to have the greatest impact in increasing patient satisfaction. Dr. Burke sees a correlation between patient satisfaction and patient engagement.
“Patient engagement refers to how relational patients are with the entire health system,” Dr. Burke said. “I know if we have better patient experience, assuming competency and that medical care is superb, then we’re going to have a more engaged patient. The greatest vehicle to get them to high patient engagement is give them a great patient experience.”
Geisinger President and CEO David T. Feinberg, M.D., MBA has made patient satisfaction the system’s top priority since his arrival in May 2015. As part of those efforts, Geisinger boldly announced last November that patients who were dissatisfied with their experience at a Geisinger facility could receive a refund of their out-of-pocket expenses.
The refund pledge is part of Geisinger’s broader ProvenExperience program, which is a promise that every patient and member gets the best care and experience at each Geisinger encounter.
“If we failed patients in our service to them, we feel that we need to make an effort to rebuild their trust through this refund program,” Dr. Burke said. “Some critics have suggested that patients may take unfair advantage of our refund promise, but we’ve asked patients to trust us with their lives so we’ve put our trust in them to ask for a valid refund. And in the end, the vast majority of the cases have been reasonable.”
Out of approximately 3 million patients cared for at Geisinger facilities during the first 11 months of the program, only a little over 300 requested refunds and/or adjustments amounting to $400,000.
And ProvenExperience has proven to be more valuable by generating greater patient feedback. Since its rollout, Geisinger has observed a 23 percent increase in communications from patients to advocates, with peak months as much as 40 percent higher than previously. Seventy-one percent are complaints/grievances, 24 percent are requests for assistance/advocacy, and 5 percent are compliments of associates or the system.
Some of the most common patient complaints included long wait times in the emergency room, poor communication with their caregiver and environmental complaints, like noise level.
Geisinger has responded by promoting a more patient-centric model of communication for all caregivers (C.I. Care). It is also improving access to services, now piloting same day appointments in cardiology, orthopedics and primary care. It’s implementing new strategies in the emergency department to improve upon efficiency and coordination with other care providers. And “quiet campaigns” are also being introduced at hospitals.
Those moves, and others, have helped improve Geisinger’s patient satisfaction scores. Dr. Burke says patient satisfaction is ultimately a byproduct of true human caring.
“At a fundamental level, patients just want to be treated with kindness and compassion and feel that they’re not a number, they’re a human being,” he said. “That’s how we strive to make our patients feel.”
Dr. Burke will be joined on the panel by Rick Evans, senior vice president and chief experience officer, New York-Presbyterian Hospital; and Sonika Mathur, senior vice president and general manager, Patient Engagement Solutions, Elsevier.
Geisinger is committed to making better health easier for the more than 1 million people it serves. Founded more than 100 years ago by Abigail Geisinger, the system now includes nine hospital campuses, a health plan with more than half a million members, two research centers and the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. With nearly 24,000 employees and more than 1,600 employed physicians, Geisinger boosts its hometown economies in Pennsylvania by billions of dollars annually. Learn more at www.geisinger.org, or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.