Retail and food service organizations already know that mystery shopping is a proven way to ensure customer satisfaction and increase profits. And the same thing is true in healthcare. Whether you are currently pro or con on the subject, or have never given it any thought, we will arm you with the unbiased information you need to make the right decision about mystery shopping for your organization.
Is There a Downside?
The most obvious concern when looking at medical mystery shopping is cost. At first glance, the price tag may seem steep. But once you see the benefits of working with a mystery shopping company, the cost is justified.
Another concern comes from staff members who may perceive mystery shoppers as time-wasters, or worse, spies. Feelings of resentment are natural when doctors, nurses and other staff believe they’re being watched. Some even feel threatened, especially if they’re not performing as they were trained. Employee training is a huge investment of time, money and resources and mystery shoppers help protect that investment.
The truth is, hiring a mystery shopping company is not a manager’s way of achieving a hidden agenda. It’s a way to recognize excellent service (not clinical) performance and provide training when service performance is below standards. In addition, when evaluated from a mystery shopper’s perspective, it’s not uncommon for previously unrecognized problems with systems and processes to emerge. These problems usually warrant change.
On the positive side, mystery shoppers that have received specialized training help uncover underlying or root causes of patient complaints and dissatisfaction. No matter how much you rely on them, patient satisfaction surveys do not and cannot provide the same level of unbiased detail that you get from a timely, comprehensive, and professionally written medical mystery shop report.
All mystery shop reports prepared by Devon Hill Associates include ratings, observations, comments, debriefings and narratives of the mystery shopper’s entire experience with your health care facility. Whether the mystery shopper conducts an actual visit or makes a phone call, no detail is too big or too small, or too positive or too negative, to include. The mystery shop report can even help confirm a suspected problem by identifying issues or problems that usually cannot be identified in any other way.
A Fresh Look
Once you’ve reviewed the mystery shopper’s report, you will have valuable insight into the behaviors and processes that enhance the patient’s experience as well as those that leave the patient feeling dissatisfied. Your ability to analyze actionable information including facts, opinions and patient feelings lets you pinpoint the areas most in need of improvement, allowing you to focus your time and energy there. It doesn’t matter whether the problem is with the process, the system, the staff or elsewhere.
Perhaps most important to consider is that, under new HCAHPS guidelines, patient experiences will have an impact on Medicare reimbursement and, therefore, the health care facility or hospital’s bottom line. That is why it’s crucial to ensure every patient’s total satisfaction.
And that’s exactly what mystery shopping helps you do. Click here to learn more about Devon Hill Associates mystery shopping services or call us at 858-456-7800.