I could write a book on the excuses I hear from healthcare leaders about why their scores are lousy. No one argues with patient satisfaction survey data when the scores are high. But when HCAHPS or other satisfaction scores fall below a leader or provider’s expectations – out come the excuses. The overarching theme of all the excuses is, “We’re different and cannot be compared to those other organizations.” Tell that to your patients. They don’t care about how “different” you are. They care about their experience. Period.
The latest gem was from an executive who, during an interview, asked me if part of my consulting services would include a strategy to make sure the surveys got into the hands of the right (happy) customers. Was he joking? A quick assessment using my highly evolved emotional intelligence told me no, he was serious. I’m pretty direct. And I’ve learned the importance of partnering with organizations that really want to improve, so I told him the solution lies in making sure ALL their customers have a consistently positive experience. In doing so, he wouldn’t have to worry about which ones got the survey.
Making and accepting excuses for poor satisfaction, especially in the C-suite, is dangerous and will impede real, sustainable progress. My advice? Get over yourself and stop making excuses. Spend that energy working on creating and maintaining a consistently positive patient experience.