CEO David Feinberg, MD of Geisinger Health Systems in northeast Pennsylvania has instituted a money back guarantee policy called ProvenExperience in their efforts to drive improved patient care. When asked about the success of this program, Feinberg says they have invested $80,000 – the amount refunded so far – into the “best secret shopper program ever.”
Patients who have given negative feedback have also had positive things to say about their care and their experience. In all, only 74 patients have asked for money back, and most for only a portion of their total charges.
Common Healthcare Complaints
Common complaints include coordination of care, lack of communication, billing issues, lack of parking and noise from construction. Geisinger has used feedback from this program to improve food options for patients, improve communication between staff and patients and reduce backlogs and wait times. Feinberg demonstrates a serious commitment to patient care and still makes the rounds in clinics, labs and the ER. This pilot program is being expanded and other institutions are looking at similar programs.
But not everyone is onboard with the money-back guarantee program. There are several issues that critics bring up:
- Non-compliance on the part of patients can negatively impact the outcomes of medical treatment, and physicians and hospitals should not be held responsible for the results of that behavior.
- A money-back guarantee increases the consumeristic attitudes toward healthcare, which is not necessarily best for the field of medicine.
- Measured outcomes oversimplify a complicated process and reduce the experience to a single metric, making physicians responsible for the outcome when they may not control all of the factors involved.
- This policy puts physicians, hospital staff and managed care plans at odds as excellence in care is costly.
It will be interesting to see how this type of policy plays out over time in the medical profession. A backlash has begun in other industries that have made efforts to put customer satisfaction first and foremost by offering money-back guarantees for anything less than complete satisfaction. Will the same happen in the medical field?