“It’s a case of good intentions gone badly awry – and it’s only getting worse.”
According to the article,
Survey “response rates have been dramatically declining over the past decade,” says Paul Alexander Clark, founder of SmartPatient, a health care analytics company. He should know: Until 2007 Clark was in charge of Press Ganey’s patient-satisfaction improvement group. The response rates, he says, are now “too low to produce reliable results.” Insiders have known this for a decade. “This is a dirty little secret in our industry,” a senior Gallup executive wrote in a 2002 letter to the CMS chief. “At those levels the standard rules of probability don’t exist. … This means you may or may not be tracking real patient attitudes.”
The article also states that “flawed survey methods and the decisions they induce, produce billions more in waste.” That’s $280 billion in waste according to estimates in the article. Wasted money so that hospitals don’t lose a percentage of their Medicare payments – government cuts which will total $1 – 2 billion under government mandates geared to save money. The thing is that a substantial portion of the $280 billion will be paid for care to Medicare and Medicaid patients. So the government is paying out a large percentage of $280 billion for increased medical care … to improve patient satisfaction … so that it can save $2 billion. They don’t call it the Affordable Care Act for nothing.
Oh, and when the government was asked for its comments to the Forbes article, it “declined several requests to comment on the record.” Imagine that … refusing to comment on wasteful spending using an unreliable process which is associated with increased patient deaths.
Press Ganey’s CEO, Patrick Ryan’s answer to this stinging criticism of his company’s methods? “Suck it up.”
However, when you look at reviews of Press Ganey by its employees on GlassDoor.com, it is difficult to tell whether or not “suck it up” is advice for physicians who are the brunt of inaccurate statistics or whether it is a directive on how Press Ganey should run its business. Out of 16 Press Ganey employee ratings, only 25% would approve of Mr. Ryan as CEO.
Let’s put this into perspective. The average doctor approval rating in Press Ganey’s surveys is in the 85% range – more than a 4 on a 1-5 scale. Mr. Ryan’s approval rating is in the 25% range — 0.25 on a 0-1 scale. Doctors get chastised for scoring more than 4 on a 1-5 scale while Patrick Ryan smugly smiles with his rating of about 1 on a 1-5 scale. If a doctor had a 25% approval rating in a hospital setting, that doctor would be fired. Done. And the doctor would have trouble finding another job, too. Patrick Ryan? He’s still working his magic at Press Ganey.
But that’s not all. On GlassDoor.com, employees have repeatedly stated that Press Ganey management is “sucking up” the entire company.
For example, one employee review notes that “The current senior managment comes accross as clueless. They have exciting visions with no ablitiy to execute on them.”
Another employee review states that “Press Ganey sells a product that it doesn’t even believe in enough to use internally.” That’s right, folks, Patrick Ryan wants everyone else to “suck it up” and to believe his company’s surveys are statistically accurate, but he allegedly won’t even use those same surveys for his own company. Kind of like Congress exempting itself from the requirements in the Affordable Care Act. This same employee suggests that Mr. Ryan’s approval rating is “generous” and likely from “lemmings of the new leadership” adding high survey marks to “boost the numbers” and skew the survey results.
Anot her employee states “It’s disheartening to be lied to on a daily basis by a group of individuals” at Press Ganey. If Press Ganey’s management lies to its employees, does anyone expect that Press Ganey will be telling hospital administrators the truth when trying to sell its product?
Yet another employee review states that upper management is “unethical” and that there have been 4 CEOs at Press Ganey in three years. Wonder why.
I could keep going on, but you can click on the link above and read the company reviews yourself. It’s actually entertaining to read how many people think that Press Ganey is a poor company.
Suck it up, indeed.
The emperor’s clothes are gone. Everyone sees it yet few are willing to admit it. Patient satisfaction metrics are associated with higher costs, higher death rates, and a former Press Ganey executive has admitted that survey response rates are too low to produce reliable results.
Why are we still using them? One reason might be that the hospital administrators encourage the surveys because the surveys are associated with higher medical spending … to the tune of $280 billion dollars.
It’s OK that satisfied patients are more likely to die.
It’s OK that survey statistics are unreliable.
Hospital administrators know that they can drive doctors to perform more expensive and discretionary testing at their hospitals by catering to patients with satisfaction surveys.
Think about this next time you or a family member has a bad outcome from your hospital care … or the next time you get a resistant infection from discretionary antibiotics prescribed to make you more satisfied … or the next time that a family member dies from an overdose of pain medication that was prescribed to increase patient satisfaction.
You or your family member might just be satisfied to death.
If that happens, you can always take the advice of Press Ganey CEO Patrick Ryan — “suck it up.”
Heck, he and his company are still making money.