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Satisfied Staff = Satisfied Patients and Positive Performance

By Margaret Schulte, DBA, CPHIMS, health IT consultant. Originally posted May 01, 2017 in HIMSS' Health IT Pulse

Employee satisfaction has a measurable impact on the performance of hospitals, health systems, physician practices, and healthcare delivery organizations - generally.  

According to Press Ganey’s Healthcare Satisfaction Report, “empirical evidence leads to the conclusion that increases of employee satisfaction are associated with increases in patient satisfaction.” In addition, according to Manary et al, writing for the New England Journal of Medicine, “when designed and administered appropriately, patient-experience surveys provide robust measures of quality.” 

Not only is there a link between staff satisfaction and improved clinical performance, there is also a link to financial performance.  When the Medicare and Medicaid programs initiated their value-based purchasing program, they included a measure related to patient satisfaction and safety. 

Both measures as noted above are impacted by employee satisfaction.   Consequently, both Medicare and Medicaid include patient satisfaction scores as a factor in reimbursement.   Failing to meet patient satisfaction scores, healthcare providers are subjected to lowered reimbursement.

In fact, one could say that when the pervasive attitude among staff at any level or in any department in the organization is negative, the culture, financial results and clinical outcomes of the entire organization can be negatively impacted. From a positive perspective, when the staff is engaged and happy in their work, when the pervasive attitude is positive, then positive results follow.

The EHR has helped hospitals, health systems and other providers to support both physician and staff satisfaction.  For example, Jeremy Bradley, MD, found that in his practice, the EHR reduced stress for both doctor and staff and has given everyone a deep sense of satisfaction, knowing that they are providing the best care possible. 

Other healthcare providers have experienced similar improvements in staff satisfaction. 

  • At AppleCare in Savannah, Ga., the staff love the e-prescribing function of their EHR, because it has removed the hassle of paper pad prescribing.  (2016)
  • For the Baltimore Medical System, the EHR’s analytics and reporting function provides an opportunity for staff to enjoy a sense of accomplishment by tracking their performance on patient measures.
  • In Michigan, Lansing Urgent Care reported in 2016 that the practice’s staff love the streamlined process that they now have to order procedures with real-time status update buttons.  Additionally, their EHR provides them with peace of mind that patient data is in one place and is backed up
  • At Sparrow Health Systems, also in Lansing, Michigan, increased caregiver satisfaction is attributed to the higher efficiency that they achieve with electronic tools and workflows.
  • Dr. Glenn Harnett, chief medical officer at American Family Care, in Birmingham, Ala., says that “the staff love it” (the EHR) and the tablets that they use.  They can access and use it from anywhere in the clinic, because they aren’t tied to one spot.
  • At The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio, nurses appreciate the ease, completeness and consistency of the results provided by the integration of the EHR and medical devices.
  • The Carolinas HealthCare System in Charlotte, NC, a Stage 7 hospital on the HIMSS Analytics Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM) SM,  and found that through electronic communication, physicians have been able to build and enhance relationships with their patients.

Note:  Sparrow Health System and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center are also Stage 7 hospitals.

The HIMSS EHR Value Collection of over 2,000 cases includes over 500 separate statements of the benefits of the EHR in building staff and physician satisfaction.  In the end, this type of value can be reflected in improved clinical care, increased patient satisfaction, and improved financial performance.

In other words, it is a win-win-win for patients, staff and administration.

Learn more in the HIMSS Health IT Value Suite.

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