Improving patient satisfaction by training emergency department physicians to respond to patient behavior
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This study examined patient behavior in the emergency department and trained physicians to respond to that behavior. It demonstrated that physicians can increase patient satisfaction by responding to the thoughts, feelings and actions which the patients are experiencing. The literature provided variables for patient satisfaction and physician counseling techniques. These variables provided the base for a Patient Satisfaction Inventory (PSI) and a training module for the physicians. Patient behavior was evaluated through the clinical Thinking, Feeling and Acting interview, given to patients, before and after each patient was seen by the physician. This information was then provided to the physicians. For half of the patients, physicians responded according to patients thinking. feeling and acting components of behavior. For the others, physicians received no information other than the generic summary card summarizing thoughts, feelings and actions of the patients as a group.
The PSI was completed by all patients after discharge from the emergency department. Pre and post training scores were compared on the PSI to determine if there was a difference in patient satisfaction.
An increase in patient satisfaction was experienced after the physicians were trained to purposefully respond to patient behavior. On the PSI, patients perceived greater compassion, understood and communicated with the physician better, and perceived more accurate diagnoses and treatments. These increases in patient satisfaction were significant (p < .01) regardless of whether the physician had the actual patient information from the clinical TF A interview or just the generic summary. The physicians seemed to become sensitized to the patients needs by organizing the data they already had about the patients. Implications for the counseling field and training physicians to better serve their patients were discussed.
- Doctoral Dissertations