Quality Corner: Patient Satisfaction – What can we do to move the needle?

November 13, 2015 by

Patient satisfaction is a widely used indicator for measuring the quality of health care – specifically how the care was delivered. Although some people argue that patient satisfaction does not equate to quality care, we have to remember that patients, and their parents and families, are consumers of our care and as such, have the capability and right to choose to have their care elsewhere. Happier customers (patients/families) generally are getting their needs met and when they are not, we typically hear about it through letters or responses to surveys.

The Children’s Hospital currently uses Press Ganey to deliver both internet and mail surveys to a randomized selection of patients from both inpatient and outpatient encounters. On a quarterly basis, managers/directors receive a roll-up of the results which allows us to compare to our competitors. Additionally, every week leaders get individual comments from the responses. Recently, the Quality Team evaluated all of the comments regarding a perceived lack of patient satisfaction from July through September of this year. The result may surprise you. A significant portion of the complaints were centered on care team communications both on the inpatient and outpatient venues.



Care provider communication skills have been shown to heavily influence patient compliance and affect clinical outcomes. Sever studies have also been shown that effective physician/provider communication is a key driver in patient and family satisfaction of their healthcare experience.

The Pediatric Endocrinology clinic has recently adopted “AIDET” as a structured way to improve patient satisfaction through straight forward communication. AIDET stands for:

Acknowledge – Greet people with a smile and use their name.

“Good afternoon, _______ (Patient name)

Introduce – Introduce yourself – who you are and what you are going to do and how you are going to help them and who else will be part of the care team.

“I will be leaving soon, but would like to introduce _______, the nurse who will be starting your IV. They will take excellent care of you.”

Duration – Keep in touch to ease waiting time and keep them up to date on the status of tests, medications, etc.

“We will be going over a few things in your plan. Please listen and feel free to add anything I might have missed. You can expect the results to take a week before they are complete.”

Explanation – Explain procedures and processes. Use language the patient can understand. Ask if they have questions.

“For your safety, I want to scan your ID band to make sure that we get the correct specimen for the test your doctor ordered.”

Thank You – Say thank you. Foster an attitude of gratitude.

“Thank you for allowing me to care for you today.”

The goal of AIDET is to decrease anxiety and increase compliance thereby improving clinical outcomes and increase both patient and provider satisfaction.

Look for AIDET coming to your area soon and ask how you can help shape the patient experience at UVA Children’s Hospital!

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