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Why Measuring Patient Satisfaction Is Critical to Your Chronic Care Management Program

To evaluate the success of any healthcare program, you must first decide which results to monitor. Practices often focus on patient health outcomes and revenue, which are both critically important. However, there’s one marker of a successful CCM program that’s commonly overlooked: patient satisfaction. 

Providing exceptional care for patients lies at the heart of healthcare. Patient satisfaction is especially important for CCM programs, because many have a cost-sharing component in the form of copays and deductibles. Since patients have financial “skin in the game,” they need to understand the value they’re receiving, or they will unenroll and miss out on the care CCM offers. 

How can you ensure that patients understand what CCM is and are happy with the care they receive? Check out this breakdown on how to explain CCM to patients, connect with patients receiving CCM, and measure patient satisfaction.

Starting out: how do I describe Chronic Care Management to my patients?

A Chronic Care Management program can be difficult to explain, especially to patients who may be unfamiliar with the term or with remote healthcare. Education is especially important since CCM is for Medicare patients, a population who are frequently targeted by scams. 

We encourage providers to explain CCM to their patients and offer practices posters, slideshows, social media templates, and brochures they can use to describe the program and what it offers. Patients often trust the word of providers and clinical staff and want to read the materials they provide. 

We also send patients mailers and explain what CCM is over the phone and via voicemail. If patients choose to enroll, we provide them with a detailed welcome packet.

New patients continually become eligible for Chronic Care Management (because they’ve joined Medicare or been diagnosed with a new chronic illness) or exit it (because they no longer want to be enrolled or are joining a different care program, like case management or ESRD.) Every time a patient becomes eligible for CCM, they need to be educated about the program before being offered the opportunity to enroll. Many practices choose to work with a CCM partner to manage the constant, ongoing consent and enrollment process. 

Benefits of CCM

Once your patients understand the general concept of CCM, it’s important to let them know the specific benefits they will receive and how to use them. For example, patients should know that they will have access to a 24/7 nurse line, what the nurse line’s number is, and when they should call—when they need a medication refill, when they have a question about their symptoms, or when they’re unsure whether they need to contact urgent care or the ER. 

Patients should also understand the other benefits of CCM, like:

  • A personalized care plan
  • Care goals and support to reach them
  • Help with medication refills
  • Assistance setting appointments
  • Recommendations for community resources

Once a patient understands the benefits they’ll receive and how they can apply them to their own life, they are more likely  to see the value in having the program available to them at any time.Lastly, one of the most important parts of explaining your Chronic Care Management program to patients is the most tedious part—repetition. Patients often need to have the benefits of CCM explained multiple times before they make their final decision on whether or not to join.

Next: How do I focus on patient satisfaction once patients enroll?

Once patients are enrolled in a CCM program, it’s important to have meaningful conversations with them to ensure patient satisfaction. Open-ended questions will encourage them to talk and build a relationship. 

At ChartSpan, our care coordinators review care goals and perform screenings, but they also ask about patients’ lives. We use our software to take note of significant events for patients and reference them on the next call. Many older people live alone and experience loneliness, so showing care and interest in their personal life is part of providing patient-centered care. 

There may be times when a patient is feeling down or has faced hardships. During these conversations, it’s crucial that CCM clinicians practice active listening and authentic empathy. The ability to understand and share the feelings of patients will create stronger relationships and a new level of trust. Care coordinators can also direct patients to resources, like support groups, exercise classes, or social opportunities.

To ensure patient satisfaction, it’s important to adjust every CCM session to the patients’ needs. Sometimes they may be ready to talk about health goals, while other times they may want help with a medication refill, directions to food, housing, or transportation resources, educational material, or someone to talk to about their emotions. A good CCM program focuses on listening to patients and providing the resources they need.

Results: How do I measure patient satisfaction?

With every program or service, there will be positive and negative feedback. It’s not effective to measure patient satisfaction based on one-off complaints or compliments. Instead, you’ll need a concrete metric that encompasses the opinions of the majority of your enrolled patient population.

At ChartSpan, we use Net Promoter Score (NPS) to gauge our patient satisfaction. Our CCM software prompts the clinician with a patient satisfaction survey at the end of some phone calls. We then ask the patient to rate us using a 0-10 scale, with 10 being the best score. 

You will also want to benchmark your NPS or other patient satisfaction score against other competitors in your industry. As of 2024, ChartSpan’s NPS score is 74.2. The healthcare sector hovers around 58. 

If your patient satisfaction scores consistently fall at or below the average in your industry, you know you need to focus more on listening to your patients and adjusting your program to their needs.

CCM Patient Satisfaction: The Takeaway

Successfully running and managing a Chronic Care Management program is complex. Simply following the requirements of CCM will not ensure patient satisfaction. To keep patients happy and help them see the value of preventative care, CCM providers need to clearly explain what CCM is and what it offers, tailor the program to patients’ needs, and adjust their communications based on patient feedback. 

Finally, you must commit to measuring patient satisfaction so that you can follow the data and truly know how your patients rate your services. If you’d like to learn more about how to build a CCM program focused on patient satisfaction, check out our guide to the obstacles that stop CCM from being successful and how to overcome them.

Empower your providers and delight your patients!

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