Patient Satisfaction

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Why Your Voice Counts: $1 Billion in Hospital Payments Tied to Patient Satisfaction

San Francisco General Hospital has installed "yacker trackers" around some nursing stations to reduce nighttime noise, part of the hospital’s enhanced effort to improve patients’ experience. (Photo: San Francisco General Hospital)

San Francisco General Hospital has installed “yacker trackers” around some nursing stations to reduce nighttime noise, part of the hospital’s enhanced effort to improve patients’ experience. Red is “too loud;” yellow is “noisy;” green is “perfect.” (Photo: San Francisco General Hospital)

By Chris Richard

To try to improve patients’ rest, San Francisco General Hospital has installed devices resembling traffic signals near some nursing stations. Called “yacker trackers,” they monitor the volume of conversation and other work-related noise around the stations. When sound is at an acceptable level, the light shows green, turning yellow as the noise increases. When it’s too loud, the light turns red.

The admonitions might get on the nerves of hospital staffers who think they’re capable of regulating how loudly they talk without electronic oversight, but there’s evidence the yacker trackers do keep the racket down – and help patients rest better.

“Some staff members think this is a reinforcement that is welcome, and others may feel this is reinforcement that isn’t really necessary,” said Baljeet Sangha, San Francisco General’s “chief experience officer.”

“The answer is to go back to the metrics. They show these reminders do work.”

In some areas where the trackers were installed, patient satisfaction over nighttime noise doubled between April and June, Sangha said. Continue reading

Can Facebook ‘Likes’ Tell You Something About Hospital Quality?

By Kelley Weiss, CHCF Center for Health Reporting

Clicking that thumbs-up “like” button on Facebook is moving beyond cute baby photos and hip new restaurants in town. Now hospitals are joining the mix.

A recent article published in the American Journal of Medical Quality says positive endorsements on Facebook could actually mean something about hospital quality.

Researchers looked at two measures: 30-day mortality rates and patient satisfaction.

Hospitals with higher patient death rates got fewer “likes.”
The study found that hospitals with higher patient death rates got fewer “likes.” It also found that people who “like” a hospital on Facebook are more likely to recommend it.

Dr. Ashish Jha,  a professor of health policy at the Harvard School of Public Health, says these findings make sense. But he cautions that the study of how accurately social media trends reflect hospital quality is in the early days. Continue reading