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A healthcare organization is finding success with using a measure of customer satisfaction to drive quality improvement.
DispatchHealth, a company based in Denver that facilitates home delivery of healthcare services, performs well on its net promoter score (NPS), which is calculated on a -100 to 100 scale and measures customers’ willingness to recommend the organization’s services. It can be used to determine satisfaction and brand loyalty. The company has a 95 NPS, which is considered quite high.
Large companies like Apple often have an NPS around 70, and healthcare organizations typically score around 30, explains Andrea Pearson, chief marketing officer of DispatchHealth, which treats about 100,000 patients across the country.
“The net promoter score is a measure of whether we are really delivering quality care and creating a base of loyalty among the patients we treat,” Pearson says. “This is a measure of customer satisfaction and loyalty that any healthcare organization can use, and the net promoter score captures the opinions of patients in a way that at a lot of other measures don’t.”
The NPS is high for several reasons, she says. A holistic approach allows the company to assess the patient’s home life, considering social determinants of care, and customers benefit from being able to stay home when receiving care, Pearson says.
“We spend an average of 45 minutes in a person’s home, and that is about four times the average patient encounter in an emergency room or a clinic. We don’t set any expectations for our employees for how much time they should spend with a patient,” she says. “Our guidelines only say that they should spend as much time as they need to in order to address all the needs of that patient. Some of our visits can be two hours or longer. That is one reason our net promoter score has stayed at 95 or above over the last several years.”
Of course, DispatchHealth focuses on providing in-home care, and so it benefits from the goodwill of patients who would rather not leave home for medical care. But Pearson says other healthcare organizations can learn from how that identifies the issues important to patients.
Any healthcare organization might improve its NPS by responding more to the same sentiments that yield a high score for DispatchHealth, Pearson says.
“Technology allows us to take a lot of our capabilities as caregivers and move them back to people’s homes, where they are more comfortable, it’s less expensive, and they tend to have a much better outcome,” she says. “That is true particularly for an older patient with a complex health history.”
The NPS is the primary metric that the company communicates to staff, Pearson says.
“It is the one metric we communicate every day to our employees. Whether you work in revenue cycle management or you’re a nurse practitioner, you understand that we hold ourselves to a bar that is quite high in terms of delivering a great experience and providing something that will create loyalty over time,” Pearson says. “We use this as a touchstone to ask if we did the best for the patient today.”
Financial Disclosure: Author Greg Freeman, Editor Jesse Saffron, Editor Jill Drachenberg, Nurse Planner Jill Winkler, Editorial Group Manager Terrey L. Hatcher, and Consulting Editor Patrice Spath report no consultant, stockholder, speaker’s bureau, research, or other financial relationships with companies having ties to this field of study.