Healthcare Experiences Aren’t Satisfying Patients

I recently wrote an “Expert Opinion” article on the 1to1 Media site called Patients Have A Soul. It looks at the need for healthcare professionals to improve the patient experience. That article also included a couple of new data graphs that I want to also post on this site.

The first graphic looks at satisfaction with different groups in the health care system. About three-quarters of consumers are very satisfied with their doctors and nurses, but only about half are that enamored with their health plans. And only two-thirds of patients are happy with the overall experience. So there’s a lot of opportunity to improve!

The second graphic looks at overall satisfaction of consumers at different ages. Clearly, satisfaction increases with age. Only 57% of the youngest group are fully satisfied with their medical experiences while 83% of the oldest feels that way.

The bottom line: My diagnoses: Patient experience has a chronic problem

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I am an experience management transformist, helping organizations improve business results by engaging the hearts and minds of their customers, employees, and partners. My "job" is Head of the Qualtrics XM Institute. The Institute is still being established, but our goal is to help organizations around the world thrive by mastering Experience Management (XM). As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. Prior to joining Qualtrics, I was managing partner of Temkin Group (leading CX research, advisory, and training firm), co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (, and a VP at Forrester Research. I'm a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Check out my LinkedIn profile:

2 thoughts on “Healthcare Experiences Aren’t Satisfying Patients”

  1. Hi Bruce…

    It’s rather ironic that in a specialized “caring” environment, patients don’t enjoy the best experience. Yet as we all know, every organization has the same room…that’s room for improvement. I haven’t seen your original article but I believe you are in Canada, so I’m wondering when and where this data is from. For the most part, we don’t have insurance issues…

    I recently had some surgery myself and I’d say that parts of my experience were wonderful…other parts were not. I went to a dental surgeon for a consult last week and wow! what a fabulous experience…I couldn’t has asked for anything better…

    The Canadian healthcare system is struggling with operating in the traditional caring environment with too many patients for the staff, too many efficiency experts trying to streamline the nursing field, and ongoing technology changes for patients who already don’t feel well and maybe need “extra” caring. It’s all about expectation. What do patients expect and are those expectations changing over time? Are the older people in your study looking at today’s care from their personal understanding and framework of yesterday’s way of doing things? Is there a perception out there that the system is already flawed and people expect not to have a great experience and in that context anything that is done or not done as they would like is then felt to be a terrible experience? Some important questions to ask and maybe they are covered in your article…I’ll check it out.

    With my background in business analysis and technical writing, I’ve found that what you have to do determines how you do it. Are we expecting an unreasonable service effort based on what the current complement of healthcare staff have to do? Another very important question to ask.

    Carolyn Watt
    The Customer Experience Company

  2. Hi Bruce,

    I agree with your diagnosis: Patient Experience has a Chronic Problem. I recently spoke to the members of our local Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association about the gap in the patient experience. Based on a follow-up questionnaire, one respondent claimed that their staff rarely sees the experience from the patient’s point of view. They also commented that there is a need to use the language of caring.

    In my opinion, it comes down to the number one emotion patients feel when they walk through your doors – FEAR. Patient care providers need to find ways to reduce fear and anxiety at every step of the patient experience.

    Thank you for the statistical work that you do.

    Norma Huibregtse
    Captivated Customers

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