May 15, 2019



4 Reasons Patient Safety and Experience Influence Consumer Choice

Did you know that medical errors have been reported to be the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer? According to multiple news reports, up to 250,000 patients die every year from potentially preventable medical errors.

Quality conscious consumers are on the lookout for hospitals that provide high-quality care with a focus on patient safety and experience. These savvy consumers are using services designed to help them compare and evaluate hospital performance to choose a hospital that will provide a safe environment and positive patient experience.

Here are 4 reasons why patient safety and experience influence consumer choice:

Patients Have Never Had More Access to Information

The decisions patients make about where they receive care can be life-changing, so they will be taking their search and selection very seriously. Unlike other industries, healthcare shoppers are prioritizing safety and outcomes. This is what sets healthcare apart from other purchasing experiences.

Strong patient safety and patient experience programs are an excellent opportunity to leverage positive results that in turn, influence consumer choice. Showcasing your hospital’s patient safety and experience achievements is a great way to attract new patients and strengthen existing relationships. Start by understanding what safety and experience means to consumers and how they are learning about safety and experience at your hospital.

Transparency Builds Trust

Consumers are aware of potential risks with any hospitalization and their expectations of a safe experience with positive outcomes will only increase as more information about hospital performance becomes available. By proactively communicating patient safety and experience efforts and sharing news about other quality improvement initiatives, hospitals can address patient fears and provide the transparency that consumers have come to expect.

Patient-Centered Care Matters

Patient-centric care is all about treating patients as unique individuals. A commitment to actively involving patients in care decisions in partnership with their physicians can help them choose treatment options that best align with their needs and preferences. In addition to receiving physical care, patients are interested in sharing their concerns and goals and are looking for a positive personalized experience. Adopting a patient-centric care philosophy is a differentiator that speaks to the desires and interests of the modern consumer.

The Cost of Medical Errors

For patients, a negative medical experience can affect them in a variety of ways. In addition to the physical and emotional stress, medical errors are likely going to result in extended care, a longer recovery time, and a higher financial burden.

For hospitals, the move away from fee-for-service has put many providers in a position where medical errors and preventable adverse events have a significant impact on hospital reimbursements. As value-based care contracts become more common, we can expect the financial impact of negative patient safety events to rise and the financial incentives for maintaining a safe patient environment to increase.

In closing, healthcare providers that focus on patient safety and a positive care experience will be better positioned to acquire and retain the increasingly quality-conscious consumer who is influenced by hospital performance. Healthgrades is recognizing organizations that have successfully reduced medical errors and improved patient safety and experience.

View Healthgrades hospital quality methodologies.