Imagine you are patient walking through the hospital doors and into the Emergency Department. You have a series of tests done, such as x-rays, cat scans, blood work, consults by the ER physician to other specialized physicians. After consulting each other, they decide you need to be admitted. Maybe to the ICU, the medical or surgical floor. You stay for a few nights, and you are discharged home. Months later, you get an itemized bill of your hospital visit. Of course you won’t be expected to pay the entire +$30,000 visit because your insurance will cover this tab. Over 16 million people are admitted into the hospital annually. If we do the math of $30k, times 16 million people, we would get one absurd figure. So how are hospitals reimbursed for the services they provide?
Hospitals receive reimbursements through the patients direct portions (though small), through insurance companies, and state funding. However, insurance companies and state funders now have control of how much they invest in a hospital that may not be performing up to standards, or has a negative ‘quality-of-care measurement’, known as patient satisfaction scores. Patient satisfaction scores are designed for a large or positive reimbursement to hospitals performing optimally or excelling, and will penalize hospitals that are sub-par and have negative satisfaction scores. In turn, this makes hospitals strive for higher accommodations to patients in attempts to improve their visit.
So here’s where the bomb drops.
The most interactive person the patient sees is guess who? The nurse. Thankfully, facilities are starting to realize that happy nurses, means happy patients. When you have a nurse that has too much going on, and no additional resources, the patient is not going to get the exceptional care the hospital is looking for. As there are many factors that the nurse is unable to control, such as how long it takes to get a patient to CT Scan when trauma’s and high-acuity patients are taking priority to be scanned, the nurse still is responsible for accommodating and watching over the waiting patient. Like it or not, this is the reality of nursing.
Fred Lee in a TEDx talk, speaks about a study that was done on nurses that have the lowest pain rating whom get the most patient satisfaction scores. Nurses that have a higher pain rating score and lower satisfaction rate were known to “bring more physical pain” to their patients even if the same tasks were delegated as the “pain free” nurse. So how do these nurses receive more praise and be considered a “low pain rating” nurse? The power of communication. Nurses that use words that are comforting such as “it might pinch, but I will be as GENTLE as I can Mr. Smith”, are most likely to get positive reviews and a low pain rating score. Fred also talks about how “compassion can effect the immune system if you believe compassion can reduce stress for the patient”. At the end of the talk, Fred sum’s up the importance of how it is ALL about patient perceptions. “It is not the service that the patient is going to talk about, it is the experience”. A hospital is a house of emotions that are both positive and negative. One of the funniest meme’s I’ve seen on Instagram was a quote on a nursing page, “Hospital’s are so wierd, like on one floor a woman is bringing a new human life into the world while the father of her child looks on; and on the floor below her a frat boy is getting a wii-remote removed from his butthole; The Circle of Life.”
Bottom line, if you want to beat the negative reviews, you’re going to need to learn how to re-word everything you say so you can appeal to your audience. It’s no longer about just saving lives kids. #truthhurts