Medical Mystery Shopping
About Medical Mystery Shopping
Mystery shopping, or secret shopping, is a tool used by companies in a wide range of industries to measure the quality of their products and services. Mystery shoppers pose as normal customers to gather information about actual service experiences. In the healthcare industry, shoppers pose as patients or patient friends and family members to assess the quality of patient experiences in those facilities.
Types of Medical Mystery Shopping
The Baird Group specializes in providing mystery shoppers to the healthcare industry. Our medical mystery shopping experts provide the following services:
Mystery callers assess phone encounters to multiple locations that are chosen by the client. Through the use of previously determined scenarios, the callers score staff on multiple areas based on a customized survey designed through Baird for your organization. The scenarios and survey used may target particular problem areas, such as appointment availability, friendliness of the staff, knowledge, transfer process, or empathy and caring of the attendant.
Mystery visitors posing as a friend or family member of a patient gather general impressions about their experiences, including exterior and interior, way-finding, atmosphere, and employee encounters. Shoppers spend time in public areas listening and observing the environment, staff, and customer interactions.
Using real-life situations with a predetermined scenario, mystery patients will present as patients with symptoms of a non-threatening matter. They will provide information about the total patient experience, including interactions with all staff, such as phone attendant, lab technicians, front-desk staff, nurses, and physicians. Mystery patients will also provide narrative information and feelings about the care environment, waiting time, waiting room, and exam rooms. Patient visits can be used in Urgent Care/ER, clinics, and other outpatient areas.
Paired Patient Visits*
Working in collaboration with hospital and/or clinic personnel, a mystery shopper is assigned to a patient who is already scheduled for an appointment. The patient would be contacted in advance to give consent for participation. The mystery shopper poses as a friend or family member in order to closely observe the patient experience from start to finish.
The mystery shopper will use both direct observations as well as patient interviewing to summarize the patient’s experience. They will provide information about the total patient experience, including interactions with all staff, such as lab technicians, front-desk staff, nurses, and physicians. These mystery shoppers will also provide narrative information and feelings from the patient about the care environment, waiting time, waiting room, and exam rooms. Paired patient visits are ideal for specialty service lines, such as Cardiology or Oncology, but can be used for pediatrics and a multitude of other areas.
Care Partner Observations*
The Baird Group has developed the Care Partner Observer (CPO) as a deep-dive method of assessing the patient experience. This method of assessment is referred to as ethnography and offers healthcare organizations both direct and indirect observation with documentation of facts along with the patient’s and family’s emotional responses to situations, settings, and encounters. This method is most frequently used to gain more in-depth information about inpatient and ambulatory surgery experiences but can be applied in other areas as well.
In order to prepare for a successful CPO experience, the Baird Group has designed a set of guidelines to assist you in patient selection. Patients selected for a CPO experience also may be ER admissions, in which case the CPO joins the patient during the ER encounter and follows the patient through admission to an inpatient area. Documentation from the CPO experience provides leaders with vital information, linking to gaps in HCAHPS scores. Key observation areas include:
- Between patient and nursing staff
- Between patient and physician
- Between staff and at points of hand-offs
- Discharge instructions
- Responsiveness to requests
- Adherence to standards
- Bedside reporting
- Staff interactions
- With patient
- With patient’s family
- With other staff
*Includes Photo Documentation
To learn more about how medical mystery shopping can help shape your patients' experiences, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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