Using Patient Satisfaction Surveys
by Kathy Everitt
Thursday, January 03, 2019
During a recent vacation, the topic of what I do for a living came up in a conversation with my shuttle driver. He proceeded to tell me how extremely happy he is with his healthcare provider.
He spoke of how the doctors and staff make him feel when he sees them. Although there was one doctor whose demeanor was off-putting, he transferred his care to another doctor in the group and is extremely happy with her. He mentioned his great experience with the front desk staff.
Kudos to this practice! They are taking the correct steps to reduce or mitigate their risk of a claim by making patients feel welcome and appreciated.
This conversation brought up some interesting facts ...
- First: Staff play a very important role in the patient’s relationship with your practice. The quality of the staff/patient interaction is significant to patients.
- Second: Your staff sets the stage for the entire visit and affects what the patient remembers about their visit when they leave your office.
- Third: Because just about every organization from your auto service provider to your local supermarket are using satisfaction surveys, it won't surprise your patients if you ask them to participate in a satisfaction survey. In fact, they may construe your not asking for their opinion as a lack of caring.
Patient satisfaction surveys can help identify whether your staff is measuring up. To get a comprehensive picture of your various service areas, your survey should break down into specific areas:
- Is there adequate parking and is the office accessible? Nothing is more frustrating than trying to find a place to park!
- Is the parking lot safe and free from obstacles? Patient safety extends to your parking lot. Is it well lit and the surface prepared for extreme weather?
- Is the waiting room comfortable, clean and organized? The appearance of the office and how it functions are direct reflections of the clinician and his or her practice. Additionally, quality reading material and in-house videos help keep patients comfortable while they're waiting.
- How was the ease of making an appointment?
- Are telephone calls answered quickly? If the caller is placed on hold, is permission asked and the patient thanked for their patience?
- Is it easy to reach the practice after hours?
- Is the check-in process efficient?
- Is the referral process simple?
- Was the receptionist warm, courteous and friendly?
- Are patients kept informed of any delays?
- Are private conversations by staff not easily overheard?
- Was the staff warm, courteous and friendly?
- Was the appointment follow-up process easy?
- Were you able to make appointments within a reasonable amount of time based on your care plan?
- Was the financial staff helpful, friendly and courteous?
- Were all your insurance and copay questions answered?
- Clinical interaction:
- Did the clinician answer your questions in a manner you understood?
- Was enough time spent with the clinician?
- Did the clinician actively listen to your situation and ask you about your goals?
- Did you receive enough educational information to take home?
And probably the most important question of all: Would the patient recommend you to their family/friends?