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Outpatient Service Facilities Face Increasing Competition - Patient Perceptions More Important Than Ever

SOUTH BEND, Ind., Dec. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Patient satisfaction scores at outpatient health care facilities are on the rise according to a new report from Press Ganey Associates, Inc. The 2008 Outpatient Pulse Report: Patient Perspectives on American Health Care cites increased competition among facilities as a driver for improvement in patient services. The report includes responses from more than 2 million patients treated at more than 1,200 outpatient care facilities nationwide last year.

"These findings show that more competition really does spur improvements in health care, which is great for patients," said Dr. Deirdre Mylod, vice president of acute services at Press Ganey. "This annual report identifies the factors that affect a patient's level of satisfaction, and it also identifies some top-level improvement solutions that are essential in an increasingly competitive environment."

    There are a number of notable findings in this year's report:

    -- Patients between the ages of 65 and 79 report the highest levels of
       satisfaction, while patients between the ages of 18 and 34 are the
       least satisfied.
    -- Patients who receive radiation treatments report the highest overall
       satisfaction, closely followed by patients who receive cardiac
    -- Outpatient rehab patients report the lowest overall satisfaction

Unlike hospitals, outpatient service providers have a short time to create a positive experience for patients. The report found that several factors can directly influence a patient's level of satisfaction, including:

    -- Wait time-Satisfaction scores drop significantly when patients wait for
       more than sixty minutes
    -- Treatment time -- Patients who receive care later in the day are less
       satisfied than those who receive care early in the morning (6:00 a.m.
       to 8:00 a.m.)
    -- Day of treatment -- Patients report lower overall satisfaction when
       they are treated on a Saturday

In addition, this report provides several solutions for improving the patient experience.

    -- Establish "service standards" to guide staff interaction with patients
    -- Equip the employees at the registration desk with the tools needed to
       provide timely, accurate information, including early notification of
       potential delays and typical turnaround time for test results
    -- Prepare staff with established responses to common patient questions
    -- Have registration employees perform quick rounds in the waiting room to
       make sure all patients have been registered

The 2008 Outpatient Pulse Report: Patient Perspectives on American Health Care is available at Commentary from Dr. Mylod is available upon request.

Press Ganey Associates, Inc.

For more than 20 years, Press Ganey has been committed to providing insight that allows health care organizations to improve the quality of care they provide while improving their bottom-line results. The company offers the largest comparative customer feedback databases, actionable data, solution resources, and unparalleled consulting and customer service. Press Ganey currently partners with more than 7,000 health care facilities -- including over 40% of U.S. hospitals -- to measure and improve the quality of their care.

SOURCE Press Ganey Associates, Inc.
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