Health 2.0 to Measure Patient Satisfaction

February 10, 2010

Olivier LAURENT

Olivier LAURENT - CEO at Coligane group

The introduction of concepts such as health 2.0 has been creating revolutions in the field of healthcare. The once ‘doctor centered’ industry has now evolved to become patient centered wherein the patient is at liberty or make informed choices about the diagnostic tests, treatment patterns and the choice of medications. Additionally, with the increasing number of players in the healthcare field and pharmaceutical industry, it has become quite important for these industries to adapt to the patient needs. It is being proposed that the most successful industry will be the one which can match with patient criteria and provide the best possible services.

Need to measure patient satisfaction

With the growing needs of patients and increase in the number of healthcare providers, hospitals need to be well equipped and be patient friendly in order to survive in the highly competitive world. The healthcare industry mainly thrives on ‘word of mouth’ and measuring patient satisfaction is considered as an important quality improvement technique.1 The pharmaceutical industry faces the threat of being left behind if they are not well equipped to measure patient satisfaction on a real-time basis. While a positive review can help boost the sales, a negative review can help in improving the product.

Approaches to understand patient satisfaction

The concept of health 2.0 has offered several new approaches to understand the patient satisfaction and know their stories about healthcare encounters. The internet has become a major platform where patients are sharing their health encounters and treatment outcomes with other people on a real-time basis. The availability of interactive websites and forums has created new avenues where people can actively take part in different discussions related to healthcare. Additionally there are many websites, which rate the hospitals and its services. While many service providers may charge for obtaining such surveys about patient satisfaction, the internet provides a free access to the healthcare industry and the pharma industry to gather such information. Accumulating such data can provide an insight about patients’ values, perspectives and expectations. Further it can suggest different ways to improve the patient’s experience in the hospital settings and offer better continuum of care.

Using Health 2.0 for understanding patient satisfaction

The pharma industry requires measuring patient satisfaction in terms of efficacy of the drugs, incidence of adverse events, cost of the medications and other related factors. This can help in improving the quality of the drug and thereby increase patient acceptance.

The key step in this process is the proper utilization of newer web technologies such as health 2.0 to measure and evaluate patient satisfaction. There are several ways in which health 2.0 can be used to measure patient satisfaction.

One of the offhand or out of the loop approach would be to capture data about the number of people discussing about a particular drug to determine its popularity or rejection. There are several forums where such discussions actively occur and millions of people from all over the world keep discussing about these aspects. The pattern of usage of these drugs can be tracked and the marketing strategies can be devised likewise.

There are several active methods through which patient satisfaction can be measured. These methods can provide live results wherein the patients can also leave specific comments that can be quite helpful in certain situations.

Many online forums and groups have inbuilt options to conduct online surveys. Additionally, such surveys can be professionally designed to cater the individual needs of the company. Particular questions about the efficacy of the drug, availability, cost and appearance, drug reactions or interactions and many others can be formed. Such surveys can be sent to the consumers to obtain a feedback about the pharma product.

Key points to be remembered

While online surveys or emailed questionnaires can help obtaining a review of the product, these should be designed well to elicit a better response to such methods. Designing long surveys that consume a lot of time faces the threat of being rejected outright or incomplete submissions.

The surveys, questionnaires or forum activities must be designed such that the key aspects of the requirements are covered well and these are in a simple language. While the questions need to be quite direct it should also be designed in such a way that a drug is not rejected outright. The questionnaire should create an awareness of the benefits of the drugs while highlighting the mistakes or common myths being followed by the consumer.

The measuring scales should be easy to understand and uniform for all the questions in the questionnaire. This also helps in easy acquisition of the data thus generated.

A well designed user friendly survey that takes minimal time but covers key questions about a pharmaceutical product has a better chance of being completed and is useful for the company.

Implementing better care

The pharmaceutical companies and healthcare industry can use a number of tools to improve patient outcomes and increase the adherence to treatment. Studies have suggested that in the healthcare settings patients are often looking for information such as correct health-care personnel identification, his/her state of health, and about the place and schedule for medical information.2, 3 Developing web based applications to provide the patients with such options can greatly improve the patient friendliness aspect of the hospitals ensuring better patient inflow. Additionally creating online forums where patient can express their concerns or grievances is also a great option.

In case of pharmaceutical industry providing platforms where patients can discuss with the pharmacist about their treatment outcomes, dosage directions and time to refill their prescriptions can be a good start. Pharmacists play a key role in promoting drug purchase and adherence to medication and can also help patients improve their disease conditions. 4 Additionally pharmaceutical companies can set up online forums for direct discussions with its experts who can answer the patient concerns regarding a medication or a treatment technique.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the health 2.0 has opened up newer avenues for getting a firsthand knowledge about the patients’ thoughts, which can boost the hospital care services and also increase the pharma sales. Judicious use of technology and creating patient friendly websites and other social sites is the need of the hour for the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries.

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References

  1. Born K, Rizo C, Seeman N. Participatory Storytelling Online: A Complementary Model of Patient Satisfaction. ElectronicHealthcare, 8(2) 2009: e3-e8
  2. Dierssen-Sotos T T, et al. Factors associated with patient satisfaction with hospital care. An Sist Sanit Navar. 2009 Sep-Dec; 32(3):317-25.
  3. González N, et al. Development and validation of an in-patient satisfaction questionnaire. Int J Qual Health Care. 2005 Dec; 17(6):465-72. Epub 2005 Aug 12.
  4. Smith M. Pharmacists’ role in improving diabetes medication management. J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2009 Jan; 3(1):175-9.
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2 Responses to “Health 2.0 to Measure Patient Satisfaction”

  1. flash said

    Very nice posting. I agree that often the patients are ignored and this will result to worse treatment. Hospital must also put themselves in the position of the patients to understand them better.

  2. Good post, we BTW use patientsurvey.com for keeping a tab on patient feedback. Works out well. Makes the staff also think twice about how they treat patients. Also, this is helping out to let go staff who are not doing a great job. What better way to document something than something that is provided to you by patients themselves. Plus, all staff wears a name tag just to make sure they know patients can see who the person is.

    Also, doctors are now reviewing these every month as well. They get positive and negative feedback about how patients feel about their treatment at the hospital.

    In the end only thing that matters is the patient care and preventative medicine.

    Keep up the good work. Great content!!!

    Regards

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