Minor Change, Major Impact: How Patient Gowns Can Affect Patient Perception

The Patient Experience in the Changing Healthcare Landscape

Since the passing of the Affordable Care Act and introduction of HCAHPS surveys, the healthcare industry has undergone a transformation.

Between patients’ new consumer-like behavior and the increased digitization of medical processes, not only has the industry itself changed, but so has the approach to providing care.

Additionally, patients are more frequently visiting outpatient facilities in non-emergency situations and have more options available to them for where they go to see a physician or have their medical needs addressed.

This era of consumer-centric healthcare is defined by the increasing importance of not only providing excellent care, but also delivering a superior patient experience. Every part of a patient’s experience with a facility ultimately frames his or her perception. The less-recognized influencers on patient satisfaction, such as patient gowns, are smaller details that are often overlooked. However, as this study shows, minor details can have a major impact.

What Are HCAHPS?

A component of healthcare reform is the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) Survey. The survey determines a patient’s perception of a healthcare provider and addresses nine topics that encompass the patient experience including: communication with doctors and nurses, responsiveness of hospital staff, pain management, communication about medicines, discharge information, transition of care, and quietness and cleanliness of the hospital environment.

A facility’s overall survey score directly correlates to their Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement. With lower-performing health systems receiving reimbursement cuts, and top-scoring health systems receiving larger reimbursement payments, administrators cannot afford to ignore any factor in the survey.

I wore your Comfort Care Plush robe on a recent visit to my medical practitioner. Wearing it made me feel very comfortable and even I didn’t mind wearing it in front of others in the office. I felt very relaxed! I feel like this healthcare facility cares very much about its patients and wants them to feel comfortable by providing such a great robe. This robe looked and felt very expensive and I’m sure they could’ve used a cheaper brand, but I feel that they really wanted patients to feel their best! Thanks for the wonderful experience!

Patient Nereida P. Oxford, Connecticut

HCAHPS and The Patient Experience

Healthcare facilities are vying for the same patients in an increasingly competitive environment. To differentiate a health system, management must ensure that their patients not only receive the best care and outcomes possible, but also have a positive and pleasant experience.

Any way to enhance this experience is a potentially differentiating factor in a patient’s decision to return to or recommend a facility.

The following study found that with a small investment, health systems are able to make a dramatic and immediate impact on their patients’ overall perception of their healthcare facility.

Results of the Comfort Care Patient Gown Survey

ImageFIRST conducted a study to measure the impact a quality patient gown has on the patient perception of a healthcare facility. Eight outpatient facilities associated with health systems across the country chose to participate in the study. The administrators of these facilities were interested in finding ways to improve patient perception and helping to measure the effect of one potential way to impact the patient experience.

The study focused on two groups: patients who were given standard gowns or robes, and patients who were given higher-end, ImageFIRST Comfort Care gowns or robes. Patients were surveyed regarding their impression of the outpatient facility and were asked whether their robe or gown gave them a favorable impression of the health system. The first group of patients was surveyed when the medical facility provided its standard robes and gowns. The second group was surveyed after the facilities switched to ImageFIRST high-quality gowns and robes.

In total, the survey comprised 1,067 patients. 576 of them were surveyed prior to switching to the high-quality gowns or robes. 491 patients were surveyed following the change. While several factors influence a patient’s experience, quality is an essential component in shaping your patients’ satisfaction.

Though not a specific component of the nine patient satisfaction categories outlined by HCAHPS, it’s clear that attention to these details is significant. As this study proved, providing high-quality gowns and robes is a minor change that has a major impact on your patients’ satisfaction.

White Paper 2023

Patient perception soared upon switching to the Comfort Care gowns.

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About The ImageFIRST Comfort Care® Line

The innovative and exclusive Comfort Care line of premium patient gowns and robe features exceptionally comfortable, luxurious and cozy fabric, designed with patient comfort in mind. The fabric is light yet warm, offering a soothing softness, and drapes like a natural fiber cloth. All the Comfort Care gowns and robe feature a full cut for optimal coverage, cozy fabric, modern colors and stylish trim. By increasing the comfort of your patients, you maximize the perception of your facility and the care you’re providing.

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