In developing and implementing quality improvement programs for hospital anesthesia departments, the core components and corresponding tactics are typically bucketed off into four areas: professional development, clinical standards, performance improvement, and customer satisfaction.
Perhaps none is as telling to the quality of care than the last area – customer satisfaction. This term encompasses the approval ratings of all key stakeholders – surgeons, nurses, and patients – but achieving clinical quality excellence in anesthesia delivery, no other is as vital to success as patient satisfaction. The relationship between patient satisfaction and the three previously mentioned core areas is dependent. After all, if patient satisfaction scores are less than optimal, you’ll be sure to see a change in one, if not all, of a QI program’s core components.
With such a vested stake in accurately capturing patient satisfaction scores, the need to develop the optimal patient satisfaction tool is integral. In a recent study published in the August issue of Anesthesiology, researchers poured over thousands of patient satisfaction surveys from a variety of clinical settings to determine what the best method is for each setting.
The research discovered that of the 3,000 studies using patient satisfaction as an outcome measure, only 71 employed a multi-dimensional approach and used psychometrics to construct the survey. What that truly means is that a significant portion of patient satisfaction surveys are gathering data that is subjective and may lead to inaccurate results.
Of course, satisfaction is at its essence a subjective matter. However, the study contends that by incorporating a psychometric approach to survey development, survey data can be transformed to a qualitative and quantitative objective data.