Two Environmental Keys to Patient Satisfaction

Since the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) – a mandated survey of patients’ perspectives of hospital care – rolled out in the last few years, patient satisfaction has taken on a whole new meaning. Care is no longer ranked solely by outcomes and expertise, but also by the experience patients and their families have at a hospital.

While the considerations for a quality patient experience are countless – involving several key players from physicians, to nurses, staff and more – there are two environmental factors on the HCAHPS survey that management teams can address to help improve overall satisfaction.

According to the recent HCAHPS survey, people were least likely to give hospitals a high score when asked if the area around their room was quiet. After all, hospitals are active facilities with people, machines and other elements contributing to the level of noise. However, it is important to consider how noise levels can impact the patient experience. Look for systematic ways to control or offset unnecessary sounds. For example, Children’s National Medical Center staff customize device settings for individual patients to help prevent alarm fatigue.

Opinions are largely shaped by appearance, so at all times, facilities should reflect cleanliness – another key environmental factor reviewed by HCAHPS. In the survey, patients are asked how often their individual rooms and bathrooms are cleaned – a common concern for patients and their families. A clean environment has many benefits, from helping minimize the risk of infection to improving perceptions of the hospital care and operations. Healthcare Design Magazine offers insight into how materials and room design influence cleanliness.