Ratings, Reviews Affect Hospitals Financially

The increasing number of reviews, ratings and patient satisfaction scores available to consumers will impact a hospital's bottom line, as better patient engagement means reduced costs.

The increasing number of reviews, ratings and patient satisfaction scores available to consumers will impact a hospital's bottom line, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute (HRI).

The number of people who use reviews to select a physician or hospital is much smaller than the reliance on reviews to make decisions in other industries. However, PwC’s report showed that 48% of respondents have read health care reviews and of those more than two-thirds (68%) used that information to make a health care decision.

"Healthcare organizations are increasingly operating in a world in which the voice of the consumer impacts the bottom line, and where customer experience is now a matter of dollars and cents," Kelly Barnes, PwC's U.S. health industries leader, said in a statement.

HRI expects there will be a boost in ratings usage as consumers demand more transparency. Plus, as the state insurance exchanges go live, each state will be required to have quality ratings and customer satisfaction information with comparisons of the health plans available. Formal reporting won’t be required until 2016, though.

The “Scoring Healthcare: Navigating Customer Experience Ratings” analysis finds that companies can and should translate the consumer feedback into improvements that better patients’ experiences and, thus, affect a hospital financially.

“The disengaged — or worse, dissatisfied — health consumer often becomes a costly patient,” according to the report. “A good experience in healthcare incorporates proactive clinicians partnering with patients who feel empowered to care for themselves in between clinic visits.”

The ultimate goal, according to health care executives, isn’t scores, but the overall experience a patient has. The report notes that greater consumer engagement can mean reduced costs since patients are making smarter care and health choices.

“Ratings don’t get to the latent needs of patients,” Doug Wood, MD, medical director at the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation, told PwC.

Read more:

Scoring Healthcare: Navigating customer experience ratings - PwC