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Hospitals harness technology to achieve patient satisfaction

Lisa Chamoff, Contributing Reporter | September 20, 2018
Health IT
Patient experience and satisfaction goes well beyond what happens in a radiology exam. It extends to the ease of scheduling, what happens in the waiting room and getting results in a timely fashion.

Innovation in those areas requires the right technology.

At the New York Medical Imaging Informatics Symposium, held Monday in New York City, hospital leaders locally and internationally spoke about how their facilities have tackled patient satisfaction, from refining the phone system to creating proprietary apps.

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There’s a difference between patient experience and satisfaction, explained Dr. Keith Hentel, executive vice chairman of radiology at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center and chair of the patient access and experience committee for the Weill Cornell Physicians Organization. Patient experience is a range of interactions – from being able to make appointments in a timely fashion to easy access to information. Satisfaction is whether a patient’s expectations were met.

“Two people can have the exact same care, but their patient satisfaction could be different because of the expectations they have about care,” Hentel said.

Hentel spoke about how NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center has focused on recruitment of front-line staff and improved its phone system, using a VoIP system with call centers distributed around the city. The system also provides analytics, measuring call volume per full-time employee and critiques call center agents.

The hospital system has a 1 to 1.5 percent call abandonment rate, while the industry average is 5 percent, according to Hentel.

Hentel said the “secret sauce” is having a “very complicated but robust rules-based scheduling engine” with a list of constraints, such as that a contrast exam can’t be scheduled if there’s no physician coverage to monitor the patient, or having cardiac exams at a specific place and time, but if exams haven’t been scheduled 48 hours in advanced the slot will become available for other exams.

The facility is also looking into using online scheduling “bots”.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center also compiles details about patients in a report, noting whether they’re claustrophobic or have metal implants. Patients fill out an online form with information before their visit and are given a QR code that they scan to check in.

“Having this information before a patient comes in is really important and allows you to act on it,” Hentel said.

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