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Board of Governors: Physician Shares Pearls for Patient Satisfaction

To help otolaryngolgists gain a better understanding of how to measure and evaluate care, the Board of Governors held a Sunday morning Miniseminar, “Hot Topics: How to Survive and Succeed in Practice in 2016.”

“Quality and value are really the buzzwords for our times. This is all how we are all being rated and even defined as practitioners. It’s challenging. It’s confusing for us as providers. It’s equally challenging and confusing for our patients,” said Ken Yanagisawa, MD, BOG secretary and moderator.

In one talk, Emily Boss, MD, associate professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore, MD, shared pearls for patient satisfaction.

“Take that term ‘patient satisfaction’ out of your minds. Try to think about why we’re in the specialty we’re in. Think about patient- and family-centered communication and relationship-centered care. Decide to believe that you’re going to be a better communicator,” said Dr. Boss, adding that public reporting is here to stay and is not limited to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Patient survey comments provide a good glimpse of how patients both positively and negatively view their physicians.

“In our department, we read the comments because people can recognize the behaviors that patients take the time to say this meant something to me,” Dr. Boss said. “We take the names out so physicians don’t feel like they are being criticized.”

She stressed that patients seek information-sharing and engagement, offering one example of a child undergoing a tonsillectomy who asked when she could go swimming.

Lastly, Dr. Boss revealed that her vision of being a patient satisfaction expert failed after her baby was born one month early and was in the NICU for one month.

“I realized I didn’t know a single thing about patient satisfaction or communication until I was on the other side,” Dr. Boss said. “Try to be a patient or think about your spouse, child, or parent going through healthcare on the other side. You learn very quickly the tactics that matter and allow you to be satisfied with the communication and the care that you’re given.”

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