Patient Transport Satisfaction Scores
Patient Logistics

How Better Patient Transportation Improves Hospital Patient Experience Scores

February 22, 2023
Trisha Wiseman, BSN, RN

Patient experience scores are one of the most important ways hospitals can measure their success in providing quality care. Transportation is a critical yet often overlooked part of the hospital experience. Poorly managed transportation can result in long wait times, missed appointments, and frustrated patients, which is why there has been a growing focus in recent years on the impact of transportation on a patient's favorable experience.

Below we break down what patients and providers are looking for, how to increase patient satisfaction scores when it comes to transportation, and how a modern technological platform like VectorCare is solving the problem and making scheduling seamless.

What Patients Are Looking For When Being Transported

Primarily patients care about timeliness. They expect a service that arrives on time and ensures they get to scheduled appointments, to a rehabilitation center to continue healing, or finally home after a taxing hospitalization.

Patients typically require transport from specialized services because they’re unwell. As such, patients naturally hope for comfort during their transport. Whether it’s arthritis due to age, recent injuries from a trauma, or needing specialized equipment such as oxygen, patients value being supported and comfortable.

A well-prepared crew with the necessary equipment to properly care for a patient during transport ensures high satisfaction survey scores. This expectation is especially important during high-risk transfers. A patient will notice and appreciate a professional and well-trained transport crew that has an ambulance stocked with necessities for those in their care.  

Lastly, patients value the experience of friendly transport service providers. This factor may be the most important determinant of satisfaction, as most patients form their opinions based on the service received[1]. Despite the timeliness, level of comfort, or the amount of equipment present during transport, a patient’s satisfaction scores will be higher if their service provider is friendly.

What Hospitals Look For When Scheduling Transport

Hospital staff have limited time to make or send the multiple phone calls and faxes it traditionally takes to coordinate transportation services. Depending on the needs of the patient and the method of transport, managers may assign this task to different hospital staff members. Between nurses, unit secretaries, case managers, and discharge planners, scheduling transport tends to be shared, split, or put all on one person.

As a result, hospitals look for scheduling that's easy for staff across a spectrum of titles. However if a nurse, for example, takes on the responsibility of this task, it's invariably a time-consuming distraction from her primary role providing patient care. This is why hospitals require efficiency when scheduling patient transport.

Depending on the size of the hospital, hundreds of patients may require transport in one day across multiple shifts. A scheduling system that saves time, effort, and energy is essential. Scheduling transport with a service that has issues with availability can be a barrier for hospitals. Hospital staff who blindly call for patient transport that is not open to scheduling are wasting time and resources.  

The correct level of patient oversight required to transport a patient is also considered when scheduling. The requirement of a paramedic versus a basic emergency medical technician is something hospitals need to know. Therefore, they look for a service with an appropriately credentialed service provider.

An on-demand intuitive tool, such as VectorCare, that allows for clear communication with a pool of service providers helps streamline the workflow of what often takes several hospital staff members to coordinate. (Read about how VectorCare's network drives operational efficiency here.)

How to Increase Patient Transport Satisfaction Scores

Top of mind for a patient when asked about their satisfaction is whether they were quickly and easily transported to their most recent (or final) destination. After illness or injury, a smooth, timely, well-equipped method of transportation provided by a professional service means a positive end to an otherwise often negative experience.

When a healthcare organization prioritizes transportation, missed or delayed healthcare is prevented. Of particular interest to hospitals is the fact that there is a correlation[2] between increasing patient satisfaction and patient safety, positive health outcomes, and adherence.

Hospitals that focus on implementing effective resources will create smooth workflows and fewer barriers for the patient as they move through the continuum of care[3].Coupled with high-quality service, patient satisfaction scores are sure to increase.  

Technological Transportation and Service Solutions

Hospitals that invest in technologically-driven patient transportation management see a number of benefits, including improved patient experience scores. Better optimized and more efficient patient transportation can lead to shorter wait times, fewer missed appointments, and happier patients overall.

A patient logistics solution like VectorCare is a one-stop-shop for dispatching: an intuitive, customizable, HIPAA-compliant, and broker-less platform that tracks data and creates measurable improvements within patient transportation and quality experiences for all players across the entire care continuum.

Read more about how technology strategies can improve HEDIS measurements and Medicare Star Ratings here, or browse more stories from our Journal here.

Trisha Wiseman, BSN, RN is a registered nurse and a 27-year veteran of the medical field who considers herself a lifelong learner. She has found a passion for share her knowledge of public health and has done so her entire nursing career. She was Nurse of the Year for her division in 2012 for a health system of 8,000+ caregivers. She has a background as a Certified Pharmacy Tech in inpatient and outpatient pharmacy, as well as a nurse in emergency medicine, family practice, cardiovascular and thoracic surgery, home care, long-term acute care (LTACH), case management, and utilization management. When she’s not writing or working her 8-5, she’s providing the best taxi service around to her two fantastic kids and drinking coffee around the clock.

1. "Interventions To Improve Hospital Patient Satisfaction With Healthcare Providers and Systems: A Systematic Review", BMJ Quality & Safety, by Karina W. Davidson, Jonathan A. Shaffer, Siqin Ye, Louise Falzon, Iheanaxho O. Emeruwa, Kevin Sundqist, Ifeoma A. Inneh, Susan L Mascitelli, Wilhelmina M. Manzano, David K. Vawdrey, Henry H. Ting, July 2017.

2. "Seven Principles For Improving Service and Patient Satisfaction", Fam Pract Manag, by JT Nordrum, DM Kennedy, March 2019.

3. "6 Ways to Boost Hospital Throughput to Improve Patient Flow", VectorCare Journal, by Natalie Evenson, February 2023.