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Patient Satisfaction Scores Hit Record High

UH Clinical Update - March 2017

Cliff A, Megerian, MD, FACS
President, UH Physician Services

Cindy Zelis, MD
Vice President of Clinical Integration

We want to take this opportunity to sincerely thank our physicians and advanced practice practitioners because our patient satisfaction scores for 2016 were the highest ever achieved by our system. These included scores at the hospital level, the physician level and for our system as a whole.

We convey our gratitude to each of you who participated in these efforts, either at the bedside or in your office. Such results are a clear testament to the quality of care that we as a physician group provide to our patients.

As you may or may not know, UH is also a leader when it comes to the mechanism by which care is delivered to large portions of the patient population, known as Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). UH has the eighth largest ACO in the country. And one of the most important metrics for an ACO, whether a Medicare or commercial ACO, is the level of patient satisfaction.

In fact, it was our high patient satisfaction scores that drove our ability to receive shared savings for 2015, and hopefully for 2016 as well. A significant portion of these savings will be delivered back to you, our physicians, as they should be.

It also is clear that an important measure of patient satisfaction is having an ideal experience at the physician’s office. Now, we want to ensure that part of that experience includes a diagnostic referral of the scheduling of an important test or an appointment with a specialist, and that this referral be completed at the point of service, as the patient is checking out of the doctor’s office.

This has been identified as an area where we have work to do. Issues that were barriers up until now, such as our scheduling system and the inability of primary care doctors to get access to specialist’s schedules, are being addressed.

We have taken the first steps of piloting and introducing a new program called Schedule Me Now. This is an app-based module that allows for a PCP’s office – in just minutes - to gain access to openings in physician office schedules throughout our system. Cindy Zelis, MD, UH Vice President of Clinical Integration, has been charged with overseeing the development and implementation of the Schedule Me Now technology.

This program was piloted at three primary care practices earlier this year. The roll-out is now continuing with three more practices and two Urgent Care facilities. Over the next several months, the majority of Urgent Care and adult and pediatric primary care offices will come on board with the technology, allowing for two important strategic outcomes to be achieved.

First, it will take the worry out of the referring doctor’s mind that the patient will be scheduled for what is most likely an important appointment. It will provide the patient with a more satisfying experience as well. Data shows that a patient who knows his or her next appointment has been made with a trusted provider (at UH) is a more satisfied patient.

The second strategic goal achieved is that this program mitigates the phenomenon – which is seen at hospital systems throughout the country - of patients having to find a provider on their own. Often, the patient‘s subsequent appointment then veers to a doctor outside the system. We know that keeping our patients within our system increases the continuity of their care and enhances patient safety, since all the details of their care are found on the same platform. (The physicians codified with the Schedule Me Now app are all UH providers.)

We also lower the cost of care by keeping patients within UH. This drives efficiency and avoids unnecessary duplication of services.

Finally, and significantly, referring patients to physicians within UH allows our colleagues, who are operating practices and eager to see new patients, to acquire more appointments.

More information on Schedule Me Now will be coming your way soon.  

Dr. Zelis and I both fully believe this day-to-day practice management tool is a valuable add-on to our providers.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me or Cindy by email with any questions.