By Chris Byers, CEO, Formstack.
Patient satisfaction surveys are growing in popularity among healthcare organizations as the United States health system continues its transition to value-based care. A well-designed and distributed survey can help you discover hidden issues or gems in your organization’s care system. It can also provide useful insights on whether you’re meeting patient expectations.
If done right, your patient satisfaction survey can be a key player in building a satisfying and cohesive experience for patients. It can help you identify which aspects of care — facility appearance, provider approachability, cost, convenience, etc. — are most important to patients so you can plan improvements accordingly.
There’s just one catch: convincing patients to complete your surveys can be tough. You’ll need to up your game if you want to gather substantial feedback. To get the most out of your patient satisfaction surveys, follow these four tips:
Provide a Compelling “Why”
Even if your patient satisfaction survey takes only five minutes to complete, you’re still asking busy people to willingly give up their time. If you don’t want to be ignored, you need to give patients a good reason to spare five minutes.
In the communication accompanying your survey, let patients know you care about their experience at your facility and want their journey to be as frictionless as possible. Tell them their feedback plays a vital role in improving quality of care for all patients. Make it clear that you want to provide a best-in-class environment and service.
Keep Surveys Brief
If possible, it’s best to keep your surveys concise and simple. The longer and more complex a survey is, the less likely people are to participate. Also, if the survey is short and easy-to-understand, you’ll typically get better (and more clear) feedback from patients.
A top goal should be to ask patient satisfaction survey questions that elicit useful responses. This means keeping questions short and to the point. If a question is lengthy or focuses on more than one aspect of the patient experience, the patients’ answers may be confusing.
Avoid Paper Surveys
Although the healthcare industry is a bit behind on the digital revolution, patients are not. They expect the ease and convenience of completing surveys and other healthcare paperwork on their mobile devices. Thus, a paper survey will be met with disdain.
An online survey is user-friendly and much easier to manage than a paper survey. Patients can complete the survey whenever it is convenient for them, and all submitted data is housed in an organized database for easy analysis.
Follow up Quickly
Patient satisfaction surveys should be sent as soon as possible after the care experience—typically within 48 hours. This allows patients to respond to the survey while their experience is still top of mind.
Sending surveys soon after a patient visit can also help you maintain a good reputation. If you have a patient who is highly dissatisfied with his or her experience, the satisfaction survey will alert you early on so you can attempt to recover the negative experience as soon as possible.