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Metrics: Change the course of dissatisfaction

Metrics: Change the course of dissatisfaction

Skye BanegasQ. Are your five stakeholders satisfied? 

A. We started this series of articles stating that you cannot manage what you don’t measure, and this includes patient satisfaction metrics. But satisfaction does not stop at the patient. In our industry, there are five stakeholders to satisfy: referral sources, patients, payers, employees and vendors.  

The HME industry usually relies on lagging indicators of satisfaction. Lagging indicators tell us what has already happened. This retrospective analysis, though useful, limits a company to a reactive stance. Lagging indicators include satisfaction surveys, patient churn rate, repeat purchases, reviews and ratings, and employee turnover rate.  

Leading indicators, on the other hand, are predictors that allow HME providers to implement pre-emptive strategies. These indicators answer not "What went wrong?" but "What can go right?" and "How do we ensure it does?" They shift the focus from reaction to prevention, from satisfaction surveys received too late to real-time engagement that can improve outcomes.  

Leading indicators are a view into your operations that, ultimately, supports decision making. When you have a poor result with a referral, patient, payer, employee or vendor, pause and ask yourself, "What could I pre-emptively measure to predict this result?" By establishing leading indicators, an HME company can anticipate and change the course of dissatisfaction. 

At the end of the day, satisfaction is your brand. It's the mirror reflecting how referral sources, patients, payers, employees and vendors perceive your business. By harnessing the predictive power of leading indicators, while respecting the lessons of lagging ones, you create a dual lens with which to view and shape the patient experience. It's not about negating the importance of surveys and feedback but augmenting them with proactive measures that can signal areas for improvement before they become evident as issues. In doing so, your HME business doesn't just satisfy – it thrives. 

Skye Banegas is director of revenue cycle management at Strategic Office Support.  You can reach her at [email protected].

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