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Why hospitals should not be patient resorts

Quartz, September 8, 2015

As most hospital executives will acknowledge, operating margins are thin. Surprisingly, many hospitals aspire to improve patient satisfaction scores by offering resort-like amenities. Spending on frills has been climbing across the hospitality industry since 2010 and is now at a record high. This might make perfect sense for hotels—but with hospitals’ patient care costs already spiraling out of control, is this really the model they want to follow?

Unsurprisingly, what patients actually care about is…well…getting great care. Focusing on resort-quality hospital stays increases hospital costs, and diverts focus from the quality care that patients want and need.

The article suggests an emphasis on those who spend more time than any other hospital employee: nurses. Survey data suggests nurse interaction as a significant predictor of patient satisfaction. Nurses spend more time with patients than any other hospital staff. So it’s no surprise that patient interactions with nurses are among the strongest predictors of HCAHPS scores.

Focusing on the caregiver is certainly wisdom. But hospitals must also consider ways to empower caregivers and clinicians with the tools and resources to help them increase the quality of their care in order to drive better patient health outcomes and in turn higher satisfaction with care.

At AristaMD, we’ve found positive impacts on both patient satisfaction and patient outcomes when clinicians were equipped with clinical guidelines and specialist eConsults. AristaMD’s eConsult Platform provides solutions to empower primary care providers with clinical workup checklists and the ability to conduct electronic consults. The solution has proven to deliver cost-effective, timely access to specialty care through eConsults, significantly reducing the need for face-to-face visits. In addition, hospital readmissions have decreased by up to 30% of admissions and 17.1% of readmissions with the use of eConsults. It’s telehealth innovations like eConsults, that have contributed to improvements in patient satisfaction not increased hospital frills.

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