Today’s hospital leaders are devoting significant time and resources developing approaches to better understand the key drivers of the patient experience and create a culture of service excellence. They’ve encouraged and supported patient advisory councils, focus groups, patient experience committees and hourly rounds on patients. Their staff’s are instituting daily “huddles” to keep care teams informed and focused on patient service. They’re analyzing the costs versus the benefits of patient perks such as enhancing the physical environment and ambience, creating tasty meals, adding valet and concierge services, and extending visiting hours.
What many of these leaders are not doing, however, is taking advantage of a powerful tool that affords them an unmatched view of what patients liked and disliked during random investigations of the hospital. That tool is a mystery shopping report — detailed compilations of individual experiences created by various incognito “patients” from the time of registration or admission all the way through to discharge.
Mystery shopping reports are produced by individuals who have received specialized training on how to think, speak, and behave like a patient. These individuals have fictitious but believable symptoms or complaints. Sometimes a doctor or two is involved in the plan. This training also ensures that these individuals know how to inconspicuously take notes about their personal encounters and observations, and after release, turn these notes into a clear and insightful first-hand account of their entire hospital
experience. The compilation of these individual accounts can then turn into detailed reports that:
- Tell a story about staff interaction and facility operation as seen through a patient’s eyes
- Identify factors that enhance and detract from the patient experience and why
- Point out areas where additional training and/or retraining may be needed
- Assess and offer ways to improve the patient experience, create memorable experiences and increase patient satisfaction scores
- And more
To date, there is no other method capable of producing the amount of invaluable patient-centric information contained in a mystery shop report, while uncovering some of the key drivers of the patient’s experience. Moreover, like patient advisory councils and focus groups, a mystery shopping report often serves as the impetus for making changes in systems, policies and procedures, or retraining staff in ways that lead to more positive and more consistent patient satisfaction.
In addition, since each individual mystery shop report presents a detailed, first-hand account of what the patient (and family) saw, heard and felt during interactions with care-givers and staff, it contains more information than a hospital leader or staff member can obtain making regular rounds. A single well written mystery shop report presents the patient experience in a way that is difficult to capture using statistics and other data. As such, it is more interesting, more useful and easier to identify with.
Yet the benefits don’t stop there. When several individual mystery shop reports are produced for an area, they can be combined and analyzed to give hospital leaders a clear understanding of some of the key drivers of patient satisfaction in their facilities.
If you’re interested in partnering with an experienced company that has earned a reputation for providing professional, thorough and actionable mystery shopping reports, contact Devon Hill Associates today at 858-456-7800 or complete the inquiry form on our website.