As an administrator, there's no doubt that you're aware of the value good patient feedback has on your facility. Hearing and understanding what works and what doesn't is key in terms of adopting policies that will benefit future patients' physical and emotional comfort.

Additionally, as patient satisfaction can determine Medicare reimbursement rates, it's imperative for your bottom line that the environment you provide is pleasant, safe and medically excellent.

How can you cut down on complaints, use patient comments to your organizational benefit, and create a positive hospital environment? Follow this advice, and watch satisfaction rates soar on your next survey!

Implement an hourly rounds nursing schedule.

Patients feel frustrated when call light responses are delayed more than a few minutes.

A systematic review by the University of Pennsylvania Health System found that working out a system in which nurses rotate through rooms on a floor every 60 minutes improved patient satisfaction in terms of needed attention. This system will automatically cut down on call light requests.

The study also found that hourly rounds improved safety for patients, because nurses are able to more closely monitor factors such as fall risks; this can lead to higher overall patient satisfaction comments.

Encourage your doctors to emphasize shared decision-making.

Research from the University of Iowa found that the happiest patients are the ones who feel they have a regular channel of communication with their doctors, so make sure your patients know it's fine to request that their doctor visits their room during the day when they have questions. This is much more reassuring than knowing they'll only see a physician during morning rounds.

During patient interactions, your physicians should emphasize the point that your patients aren't passive participants in their healthcare, but have the essential right to collaborate on their healthcare decisions regarding treatment.

Make sure your facility's physicians fully explain their patients' options respectfully to earn their trust. European data shows that when patients feel a sense of confidence in their doctors, they complain less about their medical experiences, express more satisfaction about their health, and enjoy a better quality of life.

Make sure patients don't feel emotionally isolated.

In many cases, patients in contact precautions status must be isolated for infection control protection. Unfortunately, a study from the Society For Healthcare Epidemiology in America found that these patients are twice as likely to complain about their care.

The solution: even though these patients must spend significant time physically alone, your caregivers should make sure they don't feel ignored or isolated from an emotional standpoint.

Doctors and nurses should fully explain why infection control measures are in place, and visit these patients often to offer cheerful support as well check on their physical status. They should also express that they understand how scary and strange it can be to be surrounded by people in gowns and masks all the time, but that in the long run, a period of contact precautions will potentially help them feel better faster.

Actively ask for complaints so you can make on-the-spot fixes.

Make time as an administrator to visit patients the day they move onto a floor to introduce yourself, and let them know you're available if they have difficulties. Then, drop by briefly each day to ask if you can help them in any way, and address any complaints you can immediately.

For example, if a patient tells you she can't rest because of her roommate's blaring TV, help the two by negotiate a reasonable volume before you leave the room. If a patient is disturbed by contact hallway noise, have noise-cancelling headphones on hand to rectify the issue.

The faster you act, the more impressed your patients will be.

Look at the bigger picture.

It's simple common sense, but are you really being proactive when it comes to implementing changes for those patient complaints you read over and over on surveys? If you're consistently reading how bad your cafeteria's food is, you need to meet with dining services and figure out how to improve your patient menu.

If your survey results show that a large number of patients feel your visiting hours are too restrictive, why wait to expand them?

The more effort you put into changing what large numbers of patients are concerned about, the faster your hospital's reputation will improve.