In the world of medicine, legal battles and tough situations are not uncommon. When physicians are sued by patients these situations can quickly become some of the most stressful events in someone’s career. Today it’s estimated that nearly 42 percent of physicians will encounter a malpractice lawsuit at some point. The impact of these legal issues can last for years to come. That’s why today we’ll discuss how reducing malpractice risk can come as a result of patient satisfaction:
Unsurprisingly, numerous studies already show that physicians in the midst of a malpractice suit experience a range of negative emotions. Shock, outrage, dread, anxiety, depression, and even physical illness can come as a result of battling it out in court. Not only that but the potential of burnout someone may already be experiencing likely compounds to cause some serious concerns over someone’s mental and physical health. Obviously, this makes reducing malpractice risk a top priority for physicians across all specialties.
Reducing Malpractice Risk | Tips for Patient Satisfaction
Measure Patient Satisfaction
Before even attempting to alleviate patient dissatisfaction, it’s important to identify what is making certain patients unhappy. Learning where you stand with patients can be done several ways:
Give Regular Surveys — According to one study, patient surveys are actually very accurate in how they reflect what individuals feel about the quality of care they received. Consistently sending out surveys either by post or email will help you track what a practice should improve. Try sending your surveys in the 24 to 48 hours following a visit for the best results!
Make Feedback Easy — While full-length surveys are the most beneficial, some people will only respond to short, concise formats. Using scale-based responses or gauging how likely someone would recommend your practice are still helpful ways to gain feedback.
Focus Groups / Patient Interviews — If you’re consistently receiving poor survey results, inviting small groups of individuals to provide in-depth feedback is another great option. Really talking with patients about the things they feel could improve provides a great deal of information.
Increasing Patient Satisfaction
After you’ve gained a handle on what is making patients upset, it’s time to make improvements. Some of the most common issues can be resolved with relatively simple approaches. Still, reducing malpractice risk is a complex issue that will often come down to a physician’s training, personal health, and the proper communication of entire medical teams. Nonetheless, consider the following to produce happier patients:
Reduce Wait Times — In physicians’ offices across the nation, long wait times consistently rank as the number one aggravator patients face. Amazingly, 23 percent of patients will actually leave before seeing a doctor. 22 percent will tell friends and family not to make appointments with you, and nearly 20 percent will switch to a new doctor. Although there isn’t always a lot you can do, reducing wait times can definitely make a huge difference!
Create a Nice Environment — One of the most significant factors in creating a pleasant space is natural sunlight. Physical sunshine improves mood, reduces depression, and just generally makes for happier patients. Additionally, having plants or natural features in a physician’s office can really help to reduce stress and make patients and staff feel more at ease.
Focus on Communication — It’s clear that patient-clinician communication is vital to a healthy patient-provider relationship. Whether that means reassuring patients during long wait times or simply maintaining a friendly and helpful staff, communicating will go a long way. Reducing malpractice risk can often be attributed to ensuring that patients have clear directions in terms of how to follow physician recommendations. Really, it makes all the difference to establish understanding before, during, and after a visit.
What are ways you’re reducing malpractice risk? Let us know in the comments below!