How Focusing on Customer Satisfaction Feedback Can Increase Healthcare Profitability

Traditionally, the “health” of healthcare businesses was measured by financial indicators such as collections, claims management, and patient balances. In recent years though, there has been a marked shift towards understanding and enhancing the patient experience as a critical determiner of success — reflecting a wider trend among customer-facing businesses in general.

In an increasingly competitive market, the importance of fostering patient loyalty and advocacy to maximize customer lifetime value has seen many healthcare providers focus on customer satisfaction as a key factor in growing the bottom line.

In this 5-minute read we’ll explore:

  • How patient experience influences financial success
  • Strategies for HCPs looking to improve CSAT scores
  • Real-world examples of HCPs doing this successfully
  • Challenges involved in the transition to a CSAT focus
  • Emerging trends and technologies that impact CSAT

The importance of patient satisfaction in healthcare

Customer satisfaction (CSAT) in the context of healthcare is an aggregate measure of a patient’s experiences and perceptions regarding the quality of care and services received.

Unlike in other industries, healthcare CSAT can be affected by a wide range of factors, from the empathy shown by caregivers to the efficiency of administrative processes, and its relevance has been magnified with the gradual consumerization of healthcare services. Today’s patients are more informed consumers and have higher expectations — not just relating to clinical outcomes but also the overall experience during their healthcare journey.

As a result, the long-held view that financial success in healthcare is solely dependent on operational efficiency and revenue cycle management is no longer accurate. Patient experience, which has unfortunately often been overlooked, is increasingly recognized as integral to the financial health of healthcare providers.

This shift is not only due to changing perspectives at a provider level — it may also be driven by regulatory or legislative changes. In the United States, for example, the introduction of value-based purchasing models by the Affordable Care Act directly links patient satisfaction scores to payments made to healthcare organizations.

Mapping the links between CSAT and financial performance

Beyond specific regulatory mandates, there are a host of other factors contributing to this correlation. High levels of patient satisfaction are likely to lead to increased patient retention, more favorable ratings and reviews, and enhanced reputation, all of which are crucial to maintaining existing relationships and attracting new patients.

Satisfied patients are more likely to adhere to treatment plans and follow-up schedules, leading to better health outcomes and, consequently, more cost-efficient use of healthcare resources. Healthcare provision indicators, such as the ratio of nurses and physicians to patients, also significantly impact patient satisfaction — well-staffed and well-managed healthcare facilities tend to have better CSAT scores.

For HCPs, the potential impact of this correlation is significant. A report by West on Prioritizing the Patient Experience revealed that 88% of healthcare consumers would switch healthcare providers if not satisfied and 74% would put off scheduling appointments.

Research by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions shows the direct effect that this type of patient dissatisfaction can have on HCP bottom lines, finding that hospitals with “excellent” HCAHPS patient ratings had a net margin of 4.7% — compared to 1.8% for hospitals with “low” ratings. Communication is a key factor here, with the study reporting that “patient experience scores pertaining to interactions with nurses have the strongest association with hospital financial outcomes.”

Strategies for enhancing patient satisfaction

Personalized care: tailoring patient care to individual needs and preferences fosters a deeper connection between patients and caregivers, increasing trust and enhancing the overall patient experience.

Efficient communication: keeping patients informed about their treatment plans, wait times, and any changes in their care is crucial in building trust and reducing possible frustration and anxiety.

Feedback mechanisms: implementing robust systems for collecting and analyzing patient feedback is invaluable in order to identify areas for improvement and measure the impact of any changes made.

Staff training and engagement: ensuring that all staff, from medical professionals to administrative personnel, are trained in customer service best practices and patient-centered care improves patient perception at each touchpoint.

Integrated technology: implementing digital solutions such as electronic health records and patient portals to streamline processes and improve access to information enhances the overall patient experience.

Real-world examples

Healthcare organizations that have been able to transition successfully to a customer satisfaction-focused model have reaped the benefits in terms of profitability, efficiency, or cost reduction, as the following examples illustrate.

In the UK, NHS 111 London, a contact center run by the National Health Service to triage ambulance requests and reduce unnecessary callouts, worked with engagement specialists Content Guru to develop a new Patient Relationship Management (PRM) solution. The system integrates data gleaned from medical history, medical and care information systems, and prior interactions with the service to personalize the service callers receive and assist agents in prioritizing and handling requests.

As a result, NHS 111 London has seen a reduction of over 50% in demand for ambulance transportation, and the center is five times more likely to be able to fully resolve issues reported by callers using the hotline, rather than having to refer them to a higher-priority or specialist service — significantly reducing overheads for the NHS as a whole.

Across the Atlantic, a US Fortune 500 health plan worked with CX solutions provider ResultsCX to implement an AI-powered digital experience platform in order to improve the customer experience when interacting with its call center. By automatically providing agents with case history, context, and other key information, the system allows them to focus on relationship building rather than searching the database — something plan members value highly.

As a result of implementing AI to support its human operators, the company has seen significant improvements in several key metrics, including a 15% boost to accuracy scores, reduced post-call work, a reduction of one minute in average call handling times within the first month, and 12% higher CSAT scores in month one, rising again in months two and three post-launch.

Challenges in prioritizing patient satisfaction

While the pursuit of high patient satisfaction is demonstrably profitable, it does not come without challenges. Healthcare providers must navigate a delicate balance between improving patient experiences and maintaining operational efficiency.

Implementing changes to improve patient satisfaction often requires additional resources, be it in staffing, training, or infrastructure, and balancing these needs with budget constraints is a constant challenge. The process of identifying the right changes to make can be challenging itself — patients present with a wide array of expectations and needs, making it difficult to create a universally satisfying experience.

Customizing care with sufficient granularity to suit individual preferences can be resource-intensive, and, depending on the needs of other patients, may not be practically achievable in any case.

A narrow focus on patient satisfaction could lead to inefficiencies in other areas, and ensuring that operational processes remain streamlined and effective is crucial for overall success.

On top of this, measuring patient satisfaction and interpreting feedback effectively can be complex, with the risk of placing too much emphasis on subjective metrics.

Overcoming these challenges requires careful strategic planning, a commitment to continuous improvement, and a delicate balance between patient-centric initiatives and commercial realities. Fortunately for HCPs navigating this transition, technological solutions are increasingly able to offset some of the operational burden.

Emerging trends in healthcare CSAT

The landscape of patient satisfaction in healthcare is constantly evolving. The rise of telehealth and digital health tools, accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic, offers new avenues for improving patient satisfaction, particularly in terms of accessibility and convenience.

Leveraging data analytics to provide personalized care recommendations and communication is easier than ever thanks to advancements in AI tools designed to support patient outreach and CX teams. And multichannel communications taking advantage of new messaging or social media tools can enable healthcare providers to collect and act on patient feedback swiftly and more effectively.

These types of advances empower healthcare organizations to meet changing expectations, as a growing emphasis on holistic health and wellness — including mental health and lifestyle factors — is shaping how patient satisfaction is understood and addressed. Looking to the future, the picture is one of more personalized, more convenient, and more comprehensive care experiences, combining human interaction with digital solutions, and making the most of their respective strengths.


The correlation between patient satisfaction and the financial success of healthcare providers is clear — prioritizing customer satisfaction is not just a moral or clinical imperative but a strategic commercial necessity.

Achieving high levels of patient satisfaction requires a careful blend of upskilling and continuous adaptation in healthcare CX teams — and in some cases contracting an external specialist CX team can expedite this.

Healthcare providers who successfully navigate these challenges not only stand to improve their short-term financial performance but also cement their ability to deliver high-quality, patient-centered care into the future.

And as patient expectations continue to evolve, transitioning successfully to a customer satisfaction-led model will undoubtedly remain a key driver of both clinical and commercial success.