Beyond Patient Satisfaction: Optimizing the Patient Experience

Adv Health Care Manag. 2019 Oct 24;18. doi: 10.1108/S1474-823120190000018010.


High patient satisfaction is not simply a customer service goal; it is an important dimension of quality and part of financial incentives and public reporting requirements. However, patient experience is often siloed within health system organizational charts and considered separately from quality and safety initiatives, instead of being seen predominantly as a "customer service" initiative. Representatives from 52 health care systems across the United States completed an online survey to explore both the processes and infrastructure hospitals employ to improve patient experience, and the metrics hospitals use to assess the quality of patient experience beyond patient satisfaction survey data. When asked about performance metrics beyond satisfaction, most hospitals or systems noted other metrics of the entire patient experience such as the rate of complaints or grievances and direct feedback from patient and family advisors. Additionally, respondents suggested that a broader definition of "quality of the patient experience" may be appropriate to encompass measures of access, clinical processes, and quality of care and patient safety outcomes. Almost all respondents that we surveyed listed metrics from these less traditional categories, indicating that performance improvement within the patient experience domain in these organizations is linked with other areas of hospital performance that rely on the same metrics, such as clinical quality and patient safety.

Keywords: Patient experience; patient satisfaction, quality improvement, patient safety, quality indicators; quality; safety outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Benchmarking*
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Patient Safety
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • United States