A survey found that 77 per cent of the respondents expect doctors to clearly explain the health condition, diagnosis and treatment

What is the hallmark of a quality hospital?

A recent survey across the city’s 15 zones found that people rate communication skills of healthcare professionals to be much more important than how close the hospital/clinic is to home.

Of the 1,000 people surveyed, 77 per cent said they expected the doctor to clearly explain the health condition, diagnosis and treatment modality. Patients seek caring healthcare personnel and prefer a facility that offered all services under one roof. Respondents also rated cleanliness over affordability, proper signage and a parking lot.

“We picked up 1,000 people at random, the only condition being that they should have visited a hospital in the past year. They could have been patients or attendants or visiting relatives. Their income levels were not important but we did not select people from very poor socio-economic groups,” said B.G. Menon, co-founder and managing director, ACME Consulting that conducted the survey.

There were, however, minor differences in the expectations of people from different localities.

Men and women had different expectations. While men preferred hospitals that provided all services under the same facility, women said it was important for a doctor to have clinical skills and be an able communicator. The older the respondents, the greater are the concerns about accessibility and affordability. Typically, respondents below the age of 25 years were the least concerned about hospital charges.

While residents of north Chennai said a doctor’s clinical skills were important, they also sought facilities that were affordable.

More respondents from the central parts of the city wanted doctors and nurses to spend quality time with them. For them, accessibility was not that important an issue.

Residents of south and north Chennai rated care and concern highly. Almost all respondents did not express much concern about accessibility, indicating that the city was sufficiently populated with hospitals.

“In our experience of working with over 350 hospitals across the country in quality improvement, we have seen that those who have adopted patient-friendly measures have prospered, with better bottom lines,” said Mr. Menon. The firm had, last year, conducted a survey of patients in 12 city hospitals and provided inputs to the hospitals.

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