How to Craft a Patient Satisfaction Survey
What is a Patient Satisfaction Survey?
No matter who you are or what you do, candid feedback is always an excellent opportunity for growth and learning. Your medical practice is no exception. By taking patient feedback into consideration, you stand to considerably improve the quality of care provided.
In this digital age, quality service is paramount. The nature of a company’s online reviews can be the difference between a thriving business and whether your doors stay open at all.
In the medical industry, it all goes back to patient satisfaction and patient engagement.
Patient satisfaction refers to a patient’s perception of how well they’re treated. A patient satisfaction survey is a means of understanding these perceptions. Although the data is highly subjective, it can serve as a valuable indicator for assessing the overall patient experience.
Why Do I Need a Patient Satisfaction Survey?
Patient satisfaction surveys in healthcare are a powerful tool for a few reasons. First, it’s a cost-effective way of helping every practice improve the quality of services rendered. Second, as previously noted, not taking patient satisfaction into account is detrimental to the success of your business.
There’s another reason why patient satisfaction surveys are important to a practice, and why they have become nearly ubiquitous. It’s in part due to the popularization of the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Survey (HCAHPS). This rating system is meant to help consumers find excellent care, as well as improve the quality of healthcare facilities.
HCAHPS measures 27 items, and creates star ratings for composite topics by combining multiple questions from the survey. Essentially, what this does is increase industry transparency by summarizing elements of the patient experience at a given facility.
So, how does this affect your business? Better HCAHPS ratings correlate with an improved bottom line. We can conjecture this is because better rated facilities:
- Receive more patients
- Retain more patients
- May receive financial reimbursement from government-sponsored programs
No matter how you look at it, patient satisfaction surveys are a key component of enhancing the patient experience–and your overall revenue.
Measuring Patient Satisfaction in Healthcare using Surveys
If you’re going to implement a patient satisfaction survey, it’s important that you’re willing to make changes to improve patient satisfaction. Rush Medical Center in Chicago did an excellent job of this.
Using data from their patient satisfaction survey, Rush Medical Center:
- Implemented physician “face cards” to increase personalization and familiarity
- Installed in-room whiteboards to promote communication
- Performed daily afternoon rounds to give patients updates
- Created a “best practices checklist”
Their best practices checklist is an effective way of ensuring doctors and nurses keep patient satisfaction top-of-mind. It’s worth taking the time to develop these internal standards of care, and like Rush Medical Center, you can even map these practices to your patient satisfaction survey; note that the categories on the checklist directly correlate with questions from the HCAHPS survey.
A Sample Patient Satisfaction Survey
In fact, the HCAHPS survey is a smart place to start when you’re creating your own patient satisfaction survey. Consider the topics addressed by HCAHPS, which includes items like:
- Quietness and cleanliness of the environment
- Responsiveness of staff
- Communication with staff
- Pain management
- Quality of care
- Discharge process
Then think about how each of these categories relates to your own practice, and how you might ask questions that elicit relevant data. We do recommend keeping this questionnaire as short and simple as you can while still obtaining the necessary data. In generating the survey it is good to have a combination of closed and open-ended questions in order to get the best feedback possible. The longer a survey is, the fewer people will complete it.
When conducting the survey you can choose to have a paper survey or an online survey that is sent through email or a patient portal. This will help increase the survey responses by providing multiple options.
Once you have enough data and evaluate the overall satisfaction scores you can determine where the quality of care is lacking and how to improve patient care.
If you need a little more guidance, we invite you to download our Patient Satisfaction Survey template, which you are welcome to use as is, or adjust it to better suit the needs of your practice and patients