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Why measuring patient satisfaction is critical to your Chronic Care Management program

In order to evaluate the success of any program, there are several factors to consider. You must establish and monitor KPIs, have ready access to meaningful data, and commit to measuring value and ROI to determine success. Chronic Care Management (CCM) programs are no different; they require a deep level of analysis to understand patient outcomes and attributed revenue gains. However, since a CCM program relies on the execution of a service, there is one factor of success that is commonly overlooked: patient satisfaction with the service provided. It is crucial for patients to be satisfied with a CCM program 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 see and understand the true value they are receiving. Otherwise, patients can easily un-enroll. So this brings the tantamount question for consideration - how can you ensure that your patients understand the value of your CCM program and in turn, remain satisfied across time? In this post, you’ll learn tips from ChartSpan, the largest Chronic Care Management provider in the industry, on how to ensure patients are satisfied and see a meaningful impact from their participation in a CCM program.

Starting Out: How do I describe Chronic Care Management to my patients?

Chronic Care Management can be difficult to explain. It can be especially difficult when explaining virtually to someone with memory challenges, cognitive issues, or poor hearing. That’s why you need to keep it simple. We’ve found that describing CCM in its simplest terms is key. Written materials and marketing should reinforce the message delivered over the telephone.

In addition, it is helpful to give your program credibility by engaging the practice and providers in support of the program. Legitimacy is the name of the game - having a provider or well-known staff member endorse the program will build a special level of trust for your program. We’ve found this is especially important in the patient enrollment process. Since you will experience constant patient churn - new patients becoming eligible as existing patients exit the program for predictable reasons (death, transition to hospice or specialty programs like ESRD management) - it is crucial that you have a compelling message to attract patients to the program. Mentioning that the program is administered by their healthcare provider can overcome suspicion and hesitation to engage. Remember, elderly populations are often susceptible to scam telemarketing, so the more you can put them at ease that your program is legitimate, the better.

Once your patients understand the general concept of the program, it is important to let them know the specific benefits they will receive, and how to use them. For example, if your program offers a nurse hotline available 24/7, make sure your patient not only has the phone number but also give them specific examples on when they should use the hotline - when they need a refill, have a question about their symptoms, etc. They should be comfortable calling whenever necessary, whether that is at two in the morning or during a holiday when their practice is closed. It is also important to make sure they know when they should not use it - when they have a medical emergency and need to call 911. Once a patient understands the benefits they will receive and how they can apply it to their own life, they will 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. At ChartSpan we remind patients of the program benefits every time we speak to them. We also let them know what to expect and ask them if they have any questions to clarify. Then, we repeat.

Next: How do I connect with my patients?

Once patients are enrolled in a CCM program, it’s important to have meaningful conversations with them. Open ended questions will encourage them to talk and build a relationship. At ChartSpan, we ask about their personal lives and if they mention anything memorable, we use our software to take note and reference it on the next call. Many elderly patients live alone and experience loneliness, so showing care and interest in their personal life can brighten their entire day.

There may be times when a patient is feeling down or has faced hardships. It is crucial during these conversations that CCM clinicians are skilled at showing authentic empathy. The ability to understand and share the feelings of patients will create stronger relationships and a whole new level of trust.

Lastly, it is important to ask patients about their goals, whether that is health-related or personal. This will allow CCM clinicians to tailor the conversation and plan the best next steps for their patients so they can achieve those goals.

You may think that all this talking is a big-time commitment - you are correct. However, if your patient’s satisfaction is important to you, then the time commitment is worth it. At ChartSpan, our data has shown that longer calls lead to higher patient satisfaction scores and better quality phone calls.

Results: How does ChartSpan measure patient satisfaction?

With every program or service, there will be customer complaints. That is no different for a Chronic Care Management program. Therefore, you cannot measure the success of your program based on one-off complaints from patients. You’ll need a more concrete metric that encompasses the opinion of the majority of your enrolled patient population.

At ChartSpan, we use Net Promoter Score (NPS) to gauge our patient satisfaction. In order to do so, our proprietary CCM software prompts the clinician with a patient satisfaction survey at the end of a phone call. We then ask the patient to rate us using a 0-10 scale, with 10 being the best score. During the COVID-19 outbreak, patients have seen the value of CCM, resulting in a historically high NPS score of 71.5 for ChartSpan. For reference, we hold ourselves to high standards and benchmark against health care providers and out of industry titans - by way of example, Amazon has an NPS score of 67 and the Mayo Clinic has a score of 44.

CCM Patient Satisfaction: The Takeaway

Successfully running and managing a Chronic Care Management program is a complex business. Simply following the requirements of CCM will not ensure patient satisfaction in your program. To make sure patients are happy and see the value, the CCM providers need to go above and beyond to tailor the program to patients’ needs and connect on a deeper level. There must be a commitment as well to have a plan for measurement in place so that you can follow the data to truly know if patients are happy. If you’d like to learn more about how ChartSpan can provide a CCM program tirelessly committed to delivering value every day, contact us here.

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