Leadership
Clip
The Full Picture on Patient Satisfaction Scores (03:45)

Posting patient satisfaction scores online is important for organizational transparency, but how might physicians react to potentially negative feedback? Vivian Lee, CEO of University of Utah Health Care, and Akram Boutros, President and CEO of The MetroHealth System, describe transparency efforts at their institutions.

Transparency was a gradual process at University of Utah Health Care. At first, patient satisfaction scores were only given privately to individual physicians, according to Lee. Best practices were then shared to help physicians improve, followed by the ability for University of Utah’s providers to view each other’s scores.

Before going public with provider scores, University of Utah held a number of town halls. There was “a fair amount of resistance” in the beginning, admits Lee. “I tried to remind people always that when you’re a consumer and you go to Amazon or Yelp or TripAdvisor or whatever, if you don’t read a few bad comments, you don’t even believe they’re real.” The town halls generated a lot of discussion, “but by the time we went live I think all but two of our physicians had at least a score of four out of five stars,” says Lee. “People had really improved a lot.”

Similarly, at MetroHealth, physicians with lower-than-expected scores did not want those scores made public. To change their minds, says Boutros, physicians with good results were encouraged to tell their colleagues, “I want my results out there,” and explain that you can’t only post the good scores and not the bad ones. In the first year of going public with patient satisfaction ratings, MetroHealth gave awards to about 60 or 70 employees with scores in the 90th percentile. “This year, we gave 280 awards for people in the 90th percentile,” says Boutros. “So as Vivian says, you have to approach it whichever way, but you’ve got to get over the hurdle of ‘this is going to be negative.’”

From the NEJM Catalyst event Leadership: Translating Challenge to Success at Mayo Clinic, June 2, 2016.

More From Leadership

Five Changes Great Leaders Make to Develop an Improvement Culture

Ongoing institutional improvement efforts can benefit from health care leaders who are willing to improve their leadership skills through self-reflection and personal change.

Physician Well-Being: The Reciprocity of Practice Efficiency, Culture of Wellness, and Personal Resilience

Think of physician well-being as a three-legged stool. Improvement efforts should focus on all three domains to achieve best results.

Engaging Community Physicians in Innovation

Many physicians are simply unaware that innovation is a process and that entrepreneurship is a discipline.

Leadership Survey: Anticipating the Trump Administration’s Impact on Health Care

NEJM Catalyst Insights Council members predict no clear winners, only losers. Some of their concerns have already been borne out.

What Type of Leader Do I Wish to Be?

Surprisingly, insufficient attention is given to the skills that produce fine leaders.

Health Care Providers Must Act Now to Address the Prescription Opioid Crisis

Combatting the opioid crisis goes beyond changing prescribing practices.

Protecting the Tired, the Poor, the Huddled Masses

After President Trump’s executive order banning refugees, the United States is no longer a bright beacon of hope to suffering people around the world.

Data Graphic: Time Frame for Trump Administration Plan on New Regulations

When will we see a comprehensive plan from the Trump administration on new health care regulations?

Data Graphic: What Can HHS Secretary Tom Price Do?

HHS Secretary Tom Price has signaled that he will review the ACA closely. What can he do to support, alter, or undermine the law?

Wanted: Talented, Energetic, Creative People to Work on Difficult, Boring Problems. No Perks.

Let’s admit the inconvenient, boring truth.

Connect

A weekly email newsletter featuring the latest actionable ideas and practical innovations from NEJM Catalyst.

Learn More »

Topics

Primary Care

101 Articles

Changing How We Pay for Primary…

Primary care accounts for more than half of the United States’ office visits, but direct…

Medicare

69 Articles

Improving Hospital Incentives with Better Cost…

Hospitals’ existing cost data could be used to substantially increase the accuracy of the Medicare…

Man vs. Machine: Leveraging AI in…

How best to use computer knowledge, instead of being overwhelmed by it.

Insights Council

Have a voice. Join other health care leaders effecting change, shaping tomorrow.

Apply Now