Since 2012, Syracuse Orthopedic Specialists (SOS) has ranked in the top five for customer satisfaction among the more than 80 members of the OrthoForum, a group of the largest private orthopedic practices in the nation, in surveys taken by Press Ganey. a consulting firm that provides services to health care organizations to help them with performance improvement. This isn’t a surprise to SOS team members because they believe patient satisfaction in care and outcomes are a priority.
Recently, to learn best practices, the OrthoForum Insurance Company reviewed the patient satisfaction scores of three physicians from SOS to determine what allowed their scores from Press Ganey to remain consistently high. John Fatti, MD, Aaron Bianco, MD and Ryan Smart, MD each have consistent patient satisfaction scores of greater than 96%. The review’s findings indicated that these surgeons were each actively engaged with their patients and viewed by them as realistic and attentive.
“SOS has always prided itself on the high patient satisfaction scores we’ve seen from Press Ganey,” stated Mike Humphrey, CEO, SOS. “We believe patient satisfaction is a key indicator of our team’s success, and we wanted to delve a bit further into what three of our physicians have done to retain consistently high scores so we can duplicate these best practices.”
In reviewing the scores of Drs. Fatti, Bianco and Smart, the OrthoForum Insurance Company found that patients most frequently described these physicians as, “caring, knowledgeable, realistic, empathetic and attentive.” When interviewed, each surgeon commented that good communication forms the basis for patient satisfaction, and that explaining the medicine in clear, relatable terms, and providing time for patients to truly absorb and understand the full meaning of their diagnosis.
One 62-year-old patient being treated by Dr. Bianco for spinal treatment, explains his satisfaction by saying, “Dr. Bianco made me feel very comfortable and he was easy to understand. He slowed down when I had questions and helped me with my notes and concerns. He never assumed anything and waited for me to think things through.”
A specific example that Dr. Smart points to is changing his visit strategy to reiterate the patient’s next steps at the end of the visit, so it’s the last thing the patient hears. “It wasn’t that I didn’t tell them, but rather that they did not remember,” Dr. Smart reflects. “It has helped tremendously to revisit at the end of the visit, so that they leave the office knowing what is going to happen next, and what they need to do.” A 42-year-old patient being treated by Dr. Smart remarked, “He listened to me and explained everything in detail. I appreciate his honesty and respect his opinion.”
Dr. Fatti learned early in his career that patient communication is vital to satisfaction. “As a resident at Notre Dame, we had to attend a whole week of empathy training,” remembers Dr. Fatti. “What I learned then has served me well through three decades of practice. Your patients have to be on your team. They have to know that you are on their side, but they need to participate in their healthcare as well.”
“Patient satisfaction and positive outcomes are what SOS strives for,” says Humphrey. “The entire SOS team focuses on patient satisfaction because it is the right thing to do, and we certainly want to thank Drs. Fatti, Bianco and Smart for their willingness to go the extra mile for patients.”