emergency department patient satisfaction: customer service training improves patient satisfaction and ratings of physician and nurse skill/practitioner response

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Emergency department patient satisfaction: Customer service training improves patient satisfaction and ratings of physician and nurse skill / Practitioner response falseMayer, Thom A; Cates, Robert J; Mastorovich, Mary Jane
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; Royalty, Deborah L; et al.Journal of Healthcare Management43.5 (Sep/Oct 1998): 427-40; discussion 441-2.

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Customer service initiatives in healthcare have become a popular way of attempting to improve patient satisfaction. The effect of clinically focused customer service training on patient satisfaction in the setting of a 62,000-visit emergency department and
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INTRODUCTION

Recent changes in healthcare have led to increasing competition and the perceived commercialization of the healthcare provided to patients. At the same time, a need for reaffirmation of the importance of the patient-physician relationship has been expressed in the midst of such powerful forces (Laine and Davidoff 1996; Glass 1996; Pellegrino and Thomasma 1989). One aspect of the patient-physician relationship deserving further study is the role of customer service training in healthcare. While numerous customer service training tools exist in business and industry, no studies have clearly delineated the efficacy of customer service training for patients in a clinical setting. This study examines the effect of a required customer service training program taught by healthcare professionals on patient and family complaints, compliments, and satisfaction in a high-volume high-acuity emergency department.

METHODS

Patient Base
All patients presenting to the Emergency Department at Inova Fairfax Hospital, Falls Church, Virginia, between May 1, 1994 and April 30, 1995 formed the control group, representing the period prior to emergency department customer service training. Patients presenting to the emergency department between May 1, 1995 and April 30, 1996 formed the study group, representing the period following customer service training intervention. The mechanism of patient

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