What is a good NPS score for healthcare organizations?

Lobbie staff
June 30, 2023
Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a widely accepted metric for measuring customer loyalty and satisfaction across various industries. In the context of healthcare, it serves as a tool to gauge patient experiences and satisfaction levels. The NPS scale ranges from -100 (everyone is a detractor) to 100 (everyone is a promoter), with higher scores indicating higher patient satisfaction and loyalty.

While any positive NPS is technically good because it means you have more promoters than detractors, different industries have their own benchmarks for what is considered an "excellent" or "good" NPS. The specific "good" NPS for healthcare can vary widely depending on the specific context (hospital, clinic, nursing home, etc.), region, and service quality.

According to a 2017 U.S. study, the average NPS in the healthcare sector was only 16. Since then the average NPS rate has been reported in a recent 2020 study to be as high as 58 for the healthcare industry, with most studies now putting the NPS average in the range of 30-40.  Many experts agree that an NPS of 30 or above is a more concrete benchmark for a "good" NPS in many industries, including healthcare. Using this average, an NPS significantly above 30 could be considered as "good" for a healthcare organization. A score of 50 or above is considered excellent, and 70 or above is world-class.

The reason for this variability and lack of agreement in NPS average in the healthcare sector studies compared to other industries is likely due to limited use and participation in reporting NPS, as well as the complexity and differences of organization specialties and the emotional intensity inherent in healthcare services. Healthcare, being a vital and highly scrutinized sector, often faces numerous challenges that can impact the customer experience, including complex systems, busy staff, and often high-stress environments, which can potentially impact their NPS. Patients may sometimes provide low ratings due to factors that are beyond the control of healthcare providers, such as the severity of their illness, their emotional state, or their personal expectations and biases. Furthermore, excellent medical care does not always translate into high NPSs if the patient's overall experience, including factors such as waiting times, staff demeanor, or billing processes, is negative.

The most significant metric for any individual healthcare organization using NPS is the trajectory of the score over time. An upward trend, even if the score is below 30, can still be a sign of positive progress as it indicates continuous improvement in patient satisfaction levels. Conversely, a downward trend, even from a high starting point, can be a sign of emerging problems that need to be addressed. Thus, a "good" NPS for a healthcare organization is one that shows improvement over time. The aim is to reduce the proportion of detractors (those who give a score of 0-6) and increase the proportion of promoters (those who give a score of 9-10). This requires continuous efforts to enhance patient care, improve patient experiences, and respond effectively to patient feedback. Remember, it's not just about achieving a good NPS but understanding what contributes to it and striving for ongoing improvements based on patient feedback. In the context of healthcare, the goal is not just patient satisfaction, but overall patient wellbeing, quality of care, and health outcomes.

Moreover, recent trends show that healthcare organizations are placing increased focus on the patient experience. Digitization of health records, adoption of telehealth services, and AI-assisted diagnostics are revolutionizing the industry and, potentially, its NPS. Not to mention, there are various software applications that focus on sending out NPS surveys, and even some like SocialNPS that can automate the entire sending and tracking process after every patient interaction and provide reporting of the NPS trend over time. Hence, the average score may be subject to considerable change in the coming years, especially as more and more specialty groups in healthcare start to benchmark and report their NPS over time.

In conclusion, although there is no one-size-fits-all answer for healthcare, an NPS significantly above 30 is generally considered good for a healthcare organization. Nonetheless, the ultimate goal should not only be to achieve a high NPS but to continually improve patient care and experiences, using the NPS as a tool for measuring and tracking performance.

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