The American Society of Quality (ASQ) survey of healthcare quality professionals included findings in a variety of areas. Among those of most interest to hospital-based quality professionals:

Top priorities of quality professionals in healthcare (% respondents):

  • Improved communications between patients and caregivers (83%).
  • Strong leaders who prioritize a patient-centered philosophy among all staff and promote an organized system where patients know what to expect and when (81%).
  • Experienced, socially skilled and engaged staff (including administration, physicians, and support staff) (77%).
  • Viewing improvement in quality of patient experience and service delivery as being of equal priority to financial and clinical performance measures (71%).
  • Staff workflow that allows for frequent face-to-face engagement with patients (61%).
  • Ease of access to treatment across the entire continuum of care, via accountable care organizations, etc. (56%).
  • Interactive technology that enables patients to become more involved in their own level of care. Examples are smartphones, text messaging, social networking, Web portals, and email (36%).
  • Non-traditional care delivery and amenities: concierge care, on-demand services, healing gardens, aesthetic services, etc. (21%).

    Hurdles to achieving patient satisfaction (% rating very difficult to overcome):

  • Payment and regulatory systems that are documentation-heavy, taking care team away from the patient (47%).
  • Fragmented, uncoordinated patient care (e.g. multiple hand-offs, communication barriers, lack of nationally integrated healthcare information system) (46%).
  • Governance and senior leadership that does not set the example for or support staff engagement (45%).
  • Current reimbursement models which drive increased patient volumes and result in insufficient time spent with patients (42%).
  • An organizational culture that does not allow staff to be engaged or to be problem-solvers who are empowered to take action to improve the customer experience (43%).
  • Struggles with establishing and sustaining quality and safety initiatives (25%).
  • Insufficient quality training offered by healthcare providers (29%).

    Most likely to improve patient experience (% choosing option noted):

  • Employee engagement programs that demonstrate that staff input is valued (60%).
  • Leadership development that focuses on seeing operations from the frontlines (60%).
  • Lean management systems at all levels of the organization such as strategy deployment and cross-functional and daily management (52%).
  • Creating “voice of the patient” advisory councils to ensure the organization doesn’t lose sight of patient interests (46%).
  • Using measurement tools such as patient satisfaction surveys (41%).
  • Implement mandatory process improvement education and training structure to sustain the mission (ISO, Lean, Six Sigma) (40%).
  • Require all healthcare organizations apply the Health Care Criteria for Performance Excellence using the Baldrige Excellence Framework (26%).

    For more information on this topic, contact Susan Peiffer, MT (ASCP), MS-MT, MHA, CSSBB, Performance Improvement Specialist, Hospital Sisters Health System, Western Wisconsin Division, Eau Claire, WI. Telephone: (715) 717-6032.