Do you know how your patients feel about your medical practice? Are they happy with the care they receive? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you’re missing out on a crucial opportunity to improve your practice. Find out what your patients think by using patient satisfaction surveys.
Patient satisfaction surveys are a great way to gather feedback and create a plan to make changes so you can better meet patients’ needs and continually improve your practice. These types of surveys show that there’s often room for improvement.
While 75 percent of providers say the patient experience is critical to the future success of their organizations, a whopping 81 percent of consumers say they’re unsatisfied with their healthcare experience. That’s why patient satisfaction surveys are so important.
To get quantifiable results, ask patients to rate their satisfaction on a scale of one to five, with one indicating “poor” and five “excellent.” This will give you a consistent way to compare and analyze the data. Make sure the questions you ask are easy to understand and stated in a way that will solicit feedback that can help you improve your patient care.
Below are five patient satisfaction survey questions to get you started.
How easy was it for you to schedule an appointment?
How would you rate your wait to see a provider?
Were you satisfied with your interactions with the doctor and office staff?
Overall, how would you rate the care you received?
How likely are you to recommend our medical practice to your friends and family?
Patients are busy — and many times sick or injured — when they contact you. If they can’t easily schedule an appointment with your practice, they’re going to get frustrated and go somewhere else. Healthcare has to be accessible to be effective, and the first key to providing satisfactory care is to give patients an easy way to schedule an appointment.
While they should be able to phone the facility, many patients want to book an appointment online and outside of traditional business hours. In fact, 77 percent of patients think that having the ability to book, cancel, or change appointments online is important.
To make sure you’re meeting their needs, ensure that you have a way for patients to schedule an appointment through your website. Also, ensure that the process is as easy as possible. Be sure to ask about the ease of booking appointments online and how the process could be improved. If you receive a lot of complaints, you’ll know you need to reevaluate your scheduling process.
A quick way to see your satisfaction ratings plummet is to make patients sit in a waiting room for long periods of time. While some wait time is almost inevitable, it’s important to ask your patients about their experience and how long they waited. They need to know that you value their time.
If patients consistently have to wait more than 20 minutes past their appointment times, your practice may need to leave more time between appointments or address issues of inefficiency in keeping appointments moving as scheduled.
Quality customer service is key to patient satisfaction, so be sure to ask patients if they were treated kindly and with respect, not just by the doctors and nurses but also the office staff.
Asking them to rate this aspect of your practice can provide insight into how well your staff is handling customer service. Be sure to leave room for them to explain their rating on this particular question, as patients may want to commend a specific employee for their actions or discuss a difficult encounter.
This is an important question to include because it encompasses the whole visit — from making an appointment and waiting to be seen to the interactions with the staff — and gives you an overall view of the quality of care that you provided. If your facility consistently receives low ratings, you need to take steps to address issues and improve patient care.
A great way to grow your patient base is to give such great care that your patients want to refer friends and family to you. But if existing patients indicate that they aren’t satisfied with their overall experience at your practice, they’re not going to refer you, and in fact, might do just the opposite.
If a majority of survey respondents indicate they would refer someone to your practice, you’re most likely meeting or exceeding patient expectations in all areas — which is the goal.
Administering patient satisfaction surveys
Now that you have your patient satisfaction survey questions, how do you administer the survey itself? While you can always distribute paper copies in the office or via mail, this isn’t very efficient.
You can administer an electronic survey anytime. Patients can complete these surveys via a mobile device, on their laptop or desktop, and on computers in waiting rooms. And while you’re getting feedback, you’ll also collect patient information for your electronic medical records (EMRs) or electronic health records (EHRs).
Regardless of how you administer the survey, make sure you’re able to analyze the responses so that you can truly take to heart the opinions of your patients and continually improve your practice — and their experience.