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From The CriticsReviewer: James E. Casanova, MD (Medical College of Wisconsin)
Description: This is a concise, easy-to-read survey of techniques to attract new patients and instill loyalty and satisfaction in established patients. It contains examples of improved customer satisfaction from healthcare organizations as well as other service industries.
Purpose: Satisfied patients are more compliant, more enjoyable to work with, less litigious, and better for the bottom line. The author's purpose is to remind us of these facts and suggest specific actions to make patient satisfaction a reality. This subject matter has always been important, but more so now in the age of managed care, time constraints, and impersonal healthcare delivery systems. The book achieves its purpose, with some chapters more helpful than others.
Audience: The preface indicates that the book has been written for a diverse audience including physicians, clinic staff, case managers, risk managers, non-physician clinicians, health system leaders, and those interested in patient outcomes measurement. The author is well informed and organized.
Features: The book is organized into five parts that progress in a logical sequence. The reader is first exposed to creating and identifying patient expectations, and then how to manage them. Finally there is a discussion of responding to unmet expectations and how to exceed expectations. Particularly helpful chapters address first impressions, listening skills, and "moments of truth" when a provider has the chance to "make or break" the relationship with a given patient. Other useful topics include the development of patient-oriented clinical guidelines, and the importance of a clear, concise bill.
Assessment: This is a worthwhile book for everyone who has contact with patients. Although much of what is discussed is not really new, we need to be reminded of the importance of these issues again and again. The message is that patients' expectations are not set in stone but are dynamic personal issues that can be influenced and managed by successful providers. The book is similar to Improving Patient Satisfaction Now, (Aspen, 1997). Either book could be used as a catalyst for efforts to improve customer satisfaction in the healthcare setting.