Patient Satisfaction Scores: Optimizing the Patient and Clinician Experience

ADVANCE for Nurses, By Christy Dempsey, MSN, MBA, CNOR, CENP, May 27, 2016

"Patient satisfaction scores. These three words often strike fear-and sometimes anger-in the hearts and minds of nurses. In 1985, when Irwin Press and Rod Ganey developed Press Ganey's first scientifically rigorous, validated survey and began to use the resultant data to measure patient perception of hospital care, the goal was for facilities to understand that perception and improve it. However, many hospitals began to focus too heavily on raising their patient satisfaction scores and not enough on ensuring a positive patient experience.

Although high patient satisfaction scores are important, achieving high scores should not be our overall goal, and the survey data should not be our sole focus. Our overall goal should be to reduce the suffering experienced by patients, their families and their caregivers.

Patient satisfaction scores should reflect how well patient needs are being met."