Patients who perceive caregivers as working cooperatively are more likely to return to and recommend healthcare facilities. Across both Emergency Department and Critical Care Unit patients, perceptions of teamwork between doctors, nurses, and staff was the number one key driver impacting patient loyalty, according to new research from PRC and the Healthcare Experience Foundation.
The study, published in the EC Emergency Medicine and Critical Care Journal, offers insight into the complex factors influencing where patients turn for care, even in emergency situations.

“The patient experience is widely regarded as a top priority in healthcare. There is so much complexity in the Emergency and Critical Care environments, and our goal was to isolate aspects of care that are most important to patients in order to give leaders, staff, and physicians clarity to support their improvement efforts,” Katie Owens, President of the Healthcare Experience Foundation, SVP of PRC Excellence Accelerator, and lead author of this study, said. The study was completed using retrospective patient experience survey data from 2016 to 2019 for patients discharged from 441 emergency departments and 40 critical care units. On average, teamwork explained 69% of the variation of patient loyalty in the Emergency Department and 55% of the variation of patient loyalty in the ICU.

The study identified Key Drivers of Excellence, attributes of the patient experience statistically demonstrated to influence perceptions of patient loyalty.

The top four Emergency Department Key Drivers included:
1.    Overall Teamwork between Doctors, Nurses, and Staff
2.    Doctor Understanding and Caring
3.    Discharge Instructions
4.    Doctor Instructions/Explanations of Tests

In the Critical Care Departments, the top three Key Drivers included:
1.    Overall Teamwork between Doctors, Nurses, and Staff
2.    Overall Level of Safety
3.    Nurses Understanding and Caring

“When patients perceive their care as excellent in attributes such as teamwork, understanding and caring, level of safety, discharge instructions, and instructions/explanations of tests, hospitals’ efforts will be rewarded with patient loyalty in these high acuity environments,” Joe M. Inguanzo, Ph.D., President, and CEO of PRC, said. The study notes that creating patient loyalty depends on relationship-building, communication skills, and working together as a care team. Improving the attributes of care identified as key drivers can positively shape the care experience for some of the most vulnerable and urgent patient populations.

Since its inception in 1980, PRC has helped more than 2,500 healthcare organization across all 50 states achieve their objectives by collecting and analyzing timely, accurate, and reliable feedback from patients, employees, physicians, and the community at large. PRC also provides coaching to healthcare executives and front line staff. PRC is at the forefront of innovation in the healthcare market research industry, currently offering clients real-time survey solutions, a dynamic Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) calculator, and the PRC Engagement LinkSM, a proprietary tool that gives clients a unique, holistic analysis of the relationship between employee engagement and patient experience. With over 800 associates, PRC’s team helps healthcare organizations achieve excellence in five research divisions: Patient Experience, Employee Engagement, Physician Partnership, Consumer and Branding, and Community Health.

Healthcare Experience Foundation (HXF)
The Healthcare Experience Foundation equips leaders and organizations to overcome obstacles to drive meaningful performance outcomes. Our vision at the Healthcare Experience Foundation is audaciously simple: shaping cultures so every person can receive and deliver the best healthcare. We believe in honoring the greatness that is happening every day in organizations and in providing tools for driving safer, person-centered care despite the increasing pace of change and distraction. Every organization wants to improve, to do better, to achieve greater experiences — sometimes the struggle is with the how. HXF offers coaching services, speaking, and resources to equip organizations to reach their healthcare experience potential.