Data Helps Lift Patient Experience From Basement to Penthouse

Christopher Cheney, January 26, 2018

University of Utah Health, a patient experience transparency pioneer, has raised its national patient satisfaction score from the bottom to the top quintile.

Mari Ransco
Mari Ransco
 

University of Utah Health used data sharing both internally and externally to lift its Press Ganey patient experience ranking from the 18th percentile in 2008 to the 84th percentile last year.

"We have more compassionate, connected care for patients, and a more satisfying workplace for providers where they get feedback from patients," says Mari Ransco, the Salt Lake City-based health system's director of patient experience.

She attributes the long-term gain to three milestones dating back 15 years:

  • 2003: Patient experience data was shared internally with clinic leaders
  • 2008: Patient experience data was shared internally with physicians
  • 2012: Patient experience data was shared with the public on the UUH website

When the health system launched the transparency initiative in 2003, patient experience data shared with clinics revealed relatively basic, but extremely important, shortcomings, Ransco says.

The data showed patients were concerned about long wait times in waiting rooms and exam rooms, subpar courtesy at clinic front desks, and difficulty making an appointment. Addressing shortcomings at the clinic level was relatively easy compared to tackling issues at the physician level, she says.

"We started with the things that were easy—bureaucratic and system process failures."

The sharing of patient satisfaction data with physicians that started in 2008 was rolled out in two phases.

"Initially, it was anonymous, but you could see how your peers scored relative to you," she says. "Eventually, it was unblinded after a couple of years."

A key element of the physician transparency effort was a higher degree of access to patient experience data, Ransco says. For inpatient services, the health system started collecting data at the patient level that could be attributed to a particular physician.

Christopher Cheney

Christopher Cheney is the senior finance editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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