October 2012
In This Issue
MGMA annual conference
Did you know: Implications of health industry consolidation
Q&A: After-hours contact
Patient survey database details
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Welcome to our MGMA Annual Conference edition!


It's that time again! Upwards of 3,000 MGMA members will converge on San Antonio next week, MGMA makes it easy for you to find an "exclusive group of vendors...pre-screened by MGMA-ACMPE, peer-reviewed and tested to ensure that you can choose with confidence."


It's called AdminiServeŽ Alley (Row 1100) and we've been MGMA's AdminiServeŽ partner since 2002. The conference is our chance to greet old friends and make new ones. We'll be in booth 1185 and ready to discuss the issues and challenges confronting your practice - assessing service strengths and limitations...improving the patient experience...and maintaining the momentum of your Service Quality initiative.   




And that's not all...


Our Tom Jeffrey will be co-presenting with MGMA's Todd Evenson at the Pavilion on Sunday, October 21 at 12:15 p.m. to describe how the MGMA/SullivanLuallinGroup CG-CAHPS online tool will enable you to see how your patient survey scores would look in comparison with other CG-CAHPS users. This unique member benefit will help you form an accurate profile of patient satisfaction in this challenging environment and identify opportunities for improvement.


And if you'd like to hear "Confessions of a Shadow Coach - Turning Dr. Average into Dr. Awesome!," Meryl Luallin will be in Concurrent Session D5 on Tuesday, October 23rd at 10:15 a.m. to share her experiences helping physicians improve patient communication and raise their survey scores. Meryl's break-outs are always a hot ticket, and this year's topic promises a standing-room only audience.


Come visit us in AdminiServe Alley, booth 1185!


See you there! (Or, if you don't plan to attend, just let us know and we'll send excerpts from both presentations)


Did you know that...    

...with the consolidation sweeping the healthcare industry, hospitals and medical groups are forming closer relationships than ever before. As early as 2010, 71% of hospital executives surveyed by HealthLeaders Media said they 
were receiving more inquiries from physician groups regarding acquisition or employment. 


With a new emphasis on care management, health 

information technology, and patient-centered care, the 

Transforming the patient experience 

trend is accelerating. A more recent HealthLeaders survey showed that 84% of hospital leaders rank the patient experience among their top three priorities, with nearly one-third having assigned responsibility for Service Quality to CEOs rather than to middle management Quality Committees.


Implications for you


All this puts the patient experience front-and-center on your 2013 business plan. Among the questions on your agenda:


  • How will we benchmark our survey scores against other practices of our size and specialty?
  • How will we get beneath the survey data to pinpoint specific areas for improvement?
  • Who should be on the development team for building an action plan?
  • Who are our physician "champions," and how will we get the others on board?
  • What is the management structure for maintaining the momentum?
  • What will we do if someone doesn't cooperate?


Star-studded service doesn't just happen. Improving the patient experience takes commitment, planning and organization. Looking ahead to the challenges of next year and beyond, it's not too early to get started!


Q: We get complaints about off-hours phone contact, and we may have to find another answering service.  Any thoughts before we do that?


A: Yes, in fact. You can employ mystery callers to assess how friendly and helpful your answering service sounds. When we call practices as mystery patients, we use checklists that identify strengths and limitations of the answering service process. If you'd like a copy of our mystery caller checklist for answering services, feel free to contact us.


MGMA-SullivanLuallinGroup patient survey database details...  

Senior patients rate doctors less favorably than younger patients...but they're more satisfied with staff performance than their younger counterparts. The following chart comes from a 2011 analysis of our national patient survey database, and the right-hand columns show that the differences in satisfaction scores are statistically significant:



Age 65+

Age 18-64

Higher than the 18-64 database

Lower than the 18-64 database

Average scores for staff






Average scores for doctors






Overall satisfaction







Willingness to refer others







In terms of "overall satisfaction with the practice" and "willingness to refer others to the doctor," seniors give significantly higher ratings than the 18-64 group.


Implications for you


Make sure that training programs for doctors include a segment on communicating effectively with older patients...and bolster your staff training with techniques for "coming across" effectively to patients of all ages. 



Have a question you'd like our team to answer? Contact us!


SullivanLuallinGroup specializes in patient satisfaction services, 

and is the premier healthcare customer service consulting firm in 

the nation.


For more than 25 years, we've helped physician practices implement Customer Service Initiatives that produce immediate improvement and ongoing results. Clients come to us for on-site and web-based Customer Service training, Shadow Coaching for 

low-scoring physicians, Mystery Patient/Mystery Caller 

assessments, and Patient Satisfaction surveys.