It’s no secret that patient satisfaction surveys are becoming increasingly popular. Patients are at the heart of all we do, so it only makes sense to take steps toward understanding patient satisfaction and, thus, toward enhancing the patient experience.
Our team rarely sees a week go by without having at least a few conversations about adding patient satisfaction surveys to our clients’ overall messaging strategies because patient surveys can play an invaluable role in improving the patient experience, in addition to improving operational efficiencies and, ultimately, the bottom line.
According to a 2014 Medical Group Management Association report, more than 80 percent of medical practices that were designated as “better performers” used patient satisfaction surveys. Moreover, the “better-performing” practices assessed patient satisfaction more often than lower-performing ones.
With the importance of patient satisfaction surveys in mind, let’s take a look at some effective patient survey strategies and best practices for implementing them.
Simple Yet Smart Patient Satisfaction Survey Strategies
There are two easy yet effective methods for obtaining feedback from your patients that are commonly used: the very simple and the very complex. As you will see, each method has its benefits and uses.
Simple Patient Survey: A Straightforward Method
The benefits of a simple survey approach are straightforward: It’s quick and effective, and the completion rates are much higher than they would be with a multi-page questionnaire.
You can easily craft a simple patient survey. The two most common techniques we see are:
- asking patients to rate their experience and satisfaction on a scale of 1 to 10
- posing a single survey question (e.g., “Would you recommend our services to a friend or family member?”)
By consistently delivering simple surveys to your patients after their visits, you can collect representative data from your patient base, which you can then use to guide your decision-making to either maintain or increase your practice’s overall patient satisfaction.
If you’re new to patient surveys or you’re looking for something simple yet effective, a simple survey is a great way to start a survey campaign and get a baseline metric that you can use to measure the effectiveness of customer service and patient satisfaction initiatives as you roll them out.
Complex Patient Survey: A Targeted Approach
The other type of survey method we suggest trying is the complex survey, which is a powerful tool for highlighting areas of success and identifying specific problems that demand your attention.
The challenge of a complex survey, however, is getting enough patients to complete it so that you have a true representation of performance.
To have a successful complex survey, I recommend using our patient interaction system’s settings to limit the number of complex surveys a patient receives in a year. Two options we regularly employ are:
- tying it to an appointment type, such as an annual visit
- setting a delivery interval
Another option, that many practices choose, is to send an annual survey to your entire patient population. By sending only one in-depth survey a year, you’re much more likely to see a higher participation rate.
The Dynamic Duo: An Actionable Patient Survey Approach
And finally, there’s a third survey method: one that combines the two survey styles. This approach is particularly helpful in identifying which patients are “promoters” (satisfied patients wanting to share their positive experience) and which are “detractors” (unsatisfied patients needing an outlet).
A good way to implement this type of survey is by placing a simple survey at check-in/check-out, which allows you to easily categorize promoters and detractors. Once you’ve identified your two groups, you can then ask patients from each group to take distinct meaningful next steps so you can gain further feedback and insight.
To help you make informed decisions and determine best next steps, use the table below, which provides a simple breakdown of each group’s needs, the opportunities each groups presents, and best next steps for maintaining or improving their experience and satisfaction.
You can tailor specific steps based on your practice’s resources and your patient’s needs and preferences.
|What they need|
|Opportunities they present you with|
|Next steps to consider|
Promoting Patient Satisfaction Surveys in Office
Regardless of the approach you take with your survey campaign, you’ll want to actively promote its importance with your patients.
A quick mention from clinical staff (especially the doctor), for example, and a reminder at check-out are very helpful.
You can also take things up a notch and boost patient engagement by sending patients a post-appointment message, via email or text message, containing a link to your latest survey.
To learn how we can incorporate surveys into your messaging plan, call (512) 487-7625 or visit vitalinteraction.com.