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'The Business of Health Care Report'

Pay-For-Performance Initiatives to Measure Doctor-Patient Communication
05/21/2007

Click to listen to the taped broadcast.

I’m Doug Hawthorne, president and CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”

Effective communication is one of the keys to quality service and customer satisfaction, no matter what business you’re in.

As the health care industry embraces higher expectations for quality and patient safety, physicians and hospital staff are becoming increasingly accountable for how effectively they communicate with their patients.

A growing body of evidence links effective patient communication to desirable outcomes, such as lower patient stress levels and improved adherence to treatment recommendations. Patients who understand their doctor’s instructions also file fewer complaints and report higher satisfaction with their physician and hospital experience.

As hospital performance measurement evolves, effective patient communication will play a larger role in pay-for-performance incentive programs. In addition to monitoring specific clinical outcomes, measurement programs will use patient questionnaires to gauge how effectively nurses and physicians communicate with patients.

But there’s also a role for patients in improving communications. As a business, educate your employees about how to get the most out of their medical care. Encourage them to take someone along to the physician’s office or hospital – as a second set of ears – and to ask questions of caregivers. Recommend that they take notes.

For Texas Health Resources and its faith-based hospitals – Harris Methodist, Presbyterian and Arlington Memorial – I’m Doug Hawthorne.

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