Customer Experience

The Growing Importance of Patient Satisfaction Surveys

February 04, 2019

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Patient satisfaction surveys are one of the best ways to gauge the patient experience and understand your healthcare group’s online reputation.

Why does that matter? Having a positive reputation is a major factor for 60 percent of consumers looking for new providers. In other words, it’s a key part of your patient acquisition strategy.

Healthcare organizations are already aware of the HCAHPS survey, but creating a custom survey has its own benefits. We’ll give you some best practices for creating these surveys so that more patients provide the high-quality feedback you need to improve their experience.

Where Surveys Fit in Managing an Online Reputation

A survey from PatientPop shows that most healthcare professionals are aware of the impact that a strong online reputation has on acquiring new patients. Unfortunately, 55 percent of respondents don’t know how to improve their own online reputation. Utilizing surveys can be the first step to repairing or improving that reputation.

Unlike reviews – which are always public – surveys can be internalized, which makes it easier to address and resolve any negative feedback. You might think that most of the experience is top-notch, but patients are not satisfied with the friendliness of the staff. Surveys can help discover this pain point quickly so that you can turn around and find ways to improve staff morale and presentation in front of patients.

You can also use surveys to gauge reaction to specific parts of the patient experience. For instance, you might want to make some new additions to the waiting area. You can narrow down the choices, and then present them to patients as a survey after their visit. When asking the right questions, surveys can bring in vital insights to a healthcare organization.

One option is the HCAHPS survey, which is the standard for gauging the experience of any healthcare provider. In some cases healthcare groups, like Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, use HCAHPS with advanced survey software to gain additional information on the sentiment or perception on multiple providers.

However, you should also take advantage of the many platforms that allow you create and send your own survey to patients after their visit.

There are different methods and questions in a custom survey, but before you even start a survey template keep these best practices in mind.

Make Each Survey Personal

Details matter especially when it comes to getting feedback from patients. Don’t just put “Dear Patient” at the beginning of the survey. Make an effort to include their name or other specific details that were part of their visit. These details show patients that their opinions are highly valued and that you care about the provider’s quality of service.  

Make Each Question Simple and Easy to Understand

Like any industry, healthcare providers utilize a lengthy lexicon specific to medicine. You should try to not include that same jargon in patient surveys. If you must put it in the questions, make sure that you define it well enough that anyone can easily understand it.

A Short Survey is the Best Survey

Time is a major factor when it comes to surveys. One piece of research showed that 10 percent of mobile users tend to abandon surveys after seven minutes. Desktop users will stick around for a bit longer at a four percent abandonment rate, but it jumps to six percent at the nine-minute mark.

The seven- to nine-minute window might seem small, but making short, and personalized questions within that time frame can yield valuable data.

The First Step to A Better Online Reputation

Patient satisfaction surveys are the best way to improve the experience for every patient, and it pays off. Exemplary care, attentive staff, and short wait times can all result from survey data.

Patients will notice the improvements over time, and with the right prompting they can even generate rave reviews. Generating first-party reviews and sharing them on your organization’s website can even bring you more exposure and potentially new patients through higher search rankings.

It doesn’t take much to create a survey, and the right questions can give health organizations the data they need to improve the current experience and acquire more patients in the long run.

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