The History of Patient Experience

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Around $150bn is lost each year due to missed appointments, and $200 per missed slot for individual physicians.

As populations grow and we start to live longer, the effect of missing appointments has already begun to disrupt healthcare operations, however there are ways your facility can help.

What is patient experience?

Defined by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, patient experiences are “…aspects of healthcare delivery that patients value highly when they seek and receive care, such as getting timely appointments, easy access to information, and good communication…” however when originally defined by the NHS in 2011 patient experience falls into eight categories:

  • Respect for patient values, preferences, and needs.
  • Coordination and integration of care.
  • Information, communication, and education
  • Physical comfort including pain management.
  • Emotional support for clinical fears regarding the patient and their family.
  • Involvement of family and friends
  • Transition and continuity between locations and types of care
  • Access to care including the waiting times and time between admission

Individual patient experience is more than just the appointment itself. Every step of getting to the location, finding their way around, and then locating the correct exit is a part of their experience.

All this contributes to an increasing amount of missed appointments, causing heavy losses in revenue and a waste of staff time.

Around $150bn is lost each year due to missed appointments, and $200 per missed slot for individual physicians.

This amount of revenue lost further affects healthcare providers’ ability to pay staff wages and available funding for medical equipment.

Luckily, there are increasingly more solutions in place to help your hospital be more efficient and enhance your patients’ experience.

What has changed? A patient experience timeline

The healthcare industry has become increasingly competitive in trying to deliver the best patient experience possible, in some countries the reasons differ, however it’s clear that in order for healthcare venues to survive, they need patients to turn up.

1990’s & 2000’s

During the 1990’s being able to understand patient experience became very popular, and a widely agreed concept to review the quality of care being provided. The issue at the time however was there were no existing attributes as to what contributed to a patient experience.

In 1995 the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®) program was created in the US as a method to survey patients about their experiences. “CAHPS surveys do not ask patients how satisfied they were with their care; rather, they ask patients to report on the aspects of their experiences that are important to them” – AHRQ

With little understanding over how to accurately collect and action patient experience insights, the ’90s and noughties primarily focussed on developing surveys like CAHPS.


The standard of using surveys to understand patient experiences improves. During the 2000s advancements in technology-enabled healthcare providers to conduct survey outreach through SMS.

Additionally, surveys could be filled online on handheld devices, at healthcare kiosks for real-time feedback for example during a patient’s discharge. Further insights were given directly by members of staff with complaints and compliments from their patients.

During this time, the methods for collecting patient feedback were scrutinized based on whether patients were able to provide credible insights, making it harder for venues to have actionable feedback and improve on the issues mentioned.

2020’s so far

During the Covid pandemic the world became a different place. Overwhelmed hospitals and medical practices were left with no choice but to try and find ways to better manage the influx of patients and their expectations.

Following the pandemic, healthcare facilities are struggling to meet demand while over 30% of first time patients are getting lost in increasingly complex hospitals, leading to frustration and anxiety.

Fortunately, there are ways you can help improve patients’ experience.

Provide for those with accessibility needs – According to the CDC 1 in 4 (or 26%) of adults in the United States report having at least one disability. Technology can help meet the needs of all visitors, including making it easier for everyone to find their way around in a way that suits them best.

Get patients seen quicker – Decrease the time to care by helping staff to be more efficient and focused on their jobs.

Help patients to get to their appointments – Assist with navigation within your hospital to get patients to their appointments on time, and stress free.

What’s next for patient experience?

Innovation within the healthcare sector is now soaring, driven by a need to fulfil patient demand. 72% of consumers read online reviews before booking with a new healthcare provider, meaning meeting the needs of patients is more crucial than ever before. Hospitals should therefore drive the usage of digital solutions that best fit the needs and behaviors of multiple groups and demographics where possible.

Find out more about how a digital wayfinding solution can help enhance your patient experience.

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