Patient Satisfaction: IoT Enabled patient pathway by Arnab Paul, @iArnabPaul

They may forget your name, but they may never forget how you made them feel… Maya Angelou

Patient satisfaction is not a clearly defined concept, although it is identified as an important quality outcome indicator to measure success of the services delivery system

Ever since the Institute of Medicine’s 2001 ‘Crossing the Quality Chasm’ report codified patientcenteredness as one of six health care quality aims, patient-centered care has gained footing within the landscape of health care reform. There is no consensus between the literatures on how to define the concept of patient satisfaction in healthcare. In Donabedian’s quality measurement model, patient satisfaction is defined as patient-reported outcome measure while the structures and processes of care can be measured by patient-reported experiences

Many of our Linkedin friends would concur that even if we run a million dollar enterprise and have a fairly good experience on dealing with stressful situations in our everyday business life but when it comes to visiting the hospital we get cold feet – because of the element of unforeseen and unexpectedness of the entire process that we have to undertake and on top of that we as a patient community do not have a collective voice and it makes matters worse.

I believe we have a tremendous potential as a nation provided that we as a provider and receiver of healthcare services are on the same page, though it is easier said than done.Patient who visits a hospital is looking for value on investment (VOI) and the Provider is looking for return on investment (ROI). Healthcare providers have their limitations, financial and otherwise — but at least they are doing their bit and performing reasonably well. Since they have fixed resources at their disposal – the only thing humanly possible for them is resource optimization.

In India, we have already missed the bus when it comes to patient satisfaction surveys unlike our western counterparts. For everything in life we need some kind of metrics, some tools to measure the clinical outcome and the patient satisfaction. So to make up for it may I suggest we incorporate Tech enabled, IoT optimized patient feedback mechanism.

Various Accreditation bodies like NABH, NABL, CAP, JCI and ISO are functioning in the healthcare domain but these are mostly voluntary, these accreditations are a reflection that the entity has undergone high quality of audit in its internal departments, but does it say anything about the patient satisfaction or patient engagement, the answer is a big NO. In India, one could safely bet that 90% of the patients visiting the hospitals do not have the foggiest notion of what do these accreditation means, entities need to think beyond certifications and accreditation, entities need to educate people, create more awareness among the stakeholders specially the patient community, they ought to let the world know that these organizations have the benchmark this will inspire confidence in the patient community.

So in a truly democratic healthcare system the patient ought to have a voice and a mechanism in place just to ensure that his voice his heard and above all accreditation agencies must also factor in the patient voice.

Few days back I got a very interesting email from someone who heads the ‎Clinical Transformation and Analytics, Clinical Technology and Patient Safety Innovations at a Super Speciality, New Delhi, she enquired about the tech solutions that could be put in place to enhance the patients positive experience,it so heartening to note that the providers are seriously interested in improving the patients experience and by and large I presume most of the providers do want to improve the patients experience.

So what is the solution, how do we propose to go about it, well unlike Press Ganey & HCAPHS, I don’t know of any organization in India working towards the goal of providing patient satisfaction survey. Press Ganey has stated that a minimum of 30 survey responses is necessary to draw meaningful conclusions from the data it receives and that it will not stand behind statistical analysis when less than 30 responses are received. The entities mentioned above are highly detailed paper based patient feedback mechanism, in this time and age we need to think digital, think ahead.

If we go digital & truly real time in the patient feedback mechanism it would greatly enhance the whole patient experience and maybe help to manage solve some of the issues in real time. Wouldn’t it be just great if we incorporate IoT’s in the patient feedback loop, we wouldn’t have to wait for 30 odd surveys to be analyzed we could just go ahead and fix the situation right away if it warrants an action. 

The article was first published in Mr. Arnab Paul’s LInkedIn pulse page, it has been re-published here with the author’s permission

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Arnab Paul, CEO, Patient Planet

Globally-minded systems thinker, action-oriented and inspired toward optimizing health outcomes through innovation, creativity, cooperation. Passionate about facilitating the alignment among technology, people and processes to ultimately improve patient experience and the functioning of healthcare.

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