Patient advocate lecture may be a first ever at RSNA

Patient advocate lecture may be a first ever at RSNA

by John W. Mitchell, Senior Correspondent | November 28, 2018

Dr. Keith Hentel, M.S., vice chairman for clinical operations, Department of Radiology, made a presentation about how Weill Cornell Medicine (WCM) deployed informatics to create an advantage in their very competitive New York City market. Hentel, who also serves in operating and patient experience roles at WCM, said that the organization made a decision ten years ago to use data to provide a superior patient experience in a market area with more than a dozen outpatient imaging centers.

Upfront, they are very selective about the staff they hire to represent the center. Either he or another senior executive interviews for every position to ensure new hires are a good match with the organization’s service culture. Hentel advised the audience that the phone, while not high-tech, is the most overlooked weak link in patient satisfaction delivery.


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Using data as a guide, they were able to decrease their abandoned call rate to less than one percent since last year. Other strategies include alerting staff to patients with a history of being high-demand, and reconfiguring the registration process to an online portal for faster turnaround times. And, Hentel said, they are trialing patient feedback to provide satisfaction feedback in less than an hour.

Such attention to detail has helped WCM consistently rank as the top outpatient center in their market.

Hentel also noted the difference between patient experience and patient satisfaction, even though many medical organizations tend to use the two terms interchangeably. Patient experience, he explained, encompasses the range of interactions that patients have with the health care system. This includes getting timely appointments, easy access to information, and good communication with health care providers.

Patient satisfaction, on the other hand, applies to whether a patient’s experience about a health encounter was satisfactory. It is a crucial distinction, as two patients can receive the same care. However, one patient may give a high satisfaction rate, while the second patient will give low feedback. The difference is in their expectations, which providers should take the time and effort to determine.

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