The Effect of Web-Based Education on Patient Satisfaction

Divino Plastic Surgery Blog by Dr. Carlos Chacon

February 8, 2023


Patient satisfaction is a complex blend of cognitive and emotional experiences that are influenced by a wide range of variables. It is a fundamental metric to target and directly affects the hospital’s bottom line. Web-based patient education is a relatively new strategy for educating patients, as it is less expensive and takes far less time than traditional training courses. This article aims to review the effect of Web-based patient education on satisfaction, consultation time, and conversion to surgery in the adult orthopedic population.

Patient Satisfaction

Patient satisfaction is a metric that impacts clinical outcomes, patient retention, and reimbursement claims. It is increasingly becoming a top priority for hospitals and providers. The key to a high level of satisfaction is to deliver the best patient experience possible at every point in the patient journey. That means implementing small and simple changes to your process that can significantly impact your patients’ minds. In the healthcare industry, there are several cost-effective and scalable solutions for capturing patient satisfaction data. These include paper surveys, phone surveys, and online and mobile surveys.

Patient satisfaction surveys are the most effective way to collect feedback from your patients after they have experienced a healthcare encounter. They are often used for inpatient hospital stays, outpatient surgeries, diagnostic testing, and physician office visits. They offer both qualitative and quantitative measures of a healthcare encounter. Depending on the survey length, participants typically have about 12 questions or 5 minutes to complete.

Consultation Time

Consultation length is a standard outcome measure used in primary care studies. However, these measurements are highly dependent on the case mix of patients, healthcare providers’ characteristics, and practices’ features. As such, measurement of consultation time is difficult. Moreover, it may not accurately reflect the amount of time the physician spent.

Nevertheless, the relationship between consultation length and patient satisfaction has been subject to scientific evaluation, mainly focusing on patients’ expectations for their consultations. Empathy, communication skills, and patient-centeredness were identified as more important than the actual consultation length.

This study explored whether a web-based training program tailored to an interdisciplinary group of healthcare professionals could improve patient satisfaction by reducing consultation time. Stratified data for physicians’ employment situation showed that employed physicians had significantly shorter consultation times in the intervention group compared to the control group and were more satisfied with their consultations.

Conversion to Surgery

The conversion to surgery is essential for any surgeon because it reflects the patient’s intent to proceed with an operation. However, measuring a “good” conversion rate is often difficult and requires nuanced data that can be used for strategic marketing and performance improvement decisions. Conversion surgery significantly impacts patients with stage IV gastric cancer (GC). It is performed to achieve R0 resection after chemotherapy for tumors that were initially unresectable. Moreover, it is an effective way to treat recurrent diseases.

The effect of conversion surgery on patient satisfaction has been examined in the literature and needs to be more consistent. In some studies, postoperative complications were associated with overall satisfaction, but in other studies, no relationship was found between complications and satisfaction 21. This suggests that satisfaction may be a distinct outcome from traditional measures and is therefore worthy of further investigation.

Overall OAS CAHPS Score

The overall OAS CAHPS score reflects how satisfied patients are with their care. It is an excellent way to compare performance among hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. The survey measures patient experiences in five domains, including preoperative education, facility and staff, communication, recovery, and overall experience. It also allows for some demographic data, such as age, sex, and educational level.

Despite the delay in OAS CAHPS being mandatory, HOPDs and ASCs should still be collecting and reporting the survey data to CMS. This will help them gauge their performance before the survey becomes compulsory and give them a baseline for improvement initiatives.

CAHPS surveys are a standard tool used to measure patient satisfaction with healthcare providers and facilities and for payment and quality assessment purposes. However, they face many challenges. These include declining response rates, retention of “topped-out” measures, difficulty developing and adding new questions, and questionnaire length. Keeping these surveys relevant will benefit consumers and healthcare providers alike.