Looking for a Secret Weapon to Create Better Outcomes for Patients? Survey Them!

February 13, 2019  |  By Elise Hamann

patient surveysWhat do patients think of your practice? What are they happy about? And where is there room for improvement?

If you’re thinking about these questions, you’re part of a larger trend we’re seeing in patient care today. And, if you're not, you should be – so that your patients don't consider leaving you and going elsewhere.

More than ever, physicians are embracing a patient-centric approach as a way to create better outcomes for their patients. They are thinking less about “what has traditionally worked for me” and more about “what works best for my patients today?

That’s where patient satisfaction surveys come in.

Better Outcomes for Patients

First, let’s look at what’s driving this trend. Why the move toward a patient-centric approach – and why now?

  • For one, loyalty. Physicians are finding it increasingly difficult to not just attract new patients, but retain their existing ones. Higher deductibles mean patients pay more out of pocket. That makes them more likely to shop around for a provider, and more likely to switch providers if they’re not satisfied.

  • Also, your practice’s financial health is inextricably linked to patient satisfaction. Simply put, happy patients drive revenue and overall profitability. One study reveals that hospitals with “excellent” HCAHPS patient ratings over the span of several years had a net profit margin of 4.7%, on average, as compared to just 1.8% for hospitals with “low” ratings.

The bottom line? Now more than ever, it’s a good time to collect patient data and see where there’s room for improvement. Your efforts will be well-received by patients, too; in fact, one survey shows that 86% of patients express that they are interested in taking satisfaction surveys to provide feedback.

How Should You Approach Your Patients?

Check out these 6 tips to creating your patient satisfaction survey.

  • Make it easy to respond. Online surveys (versus phone calls) give patients the flexibility to respond when they want, where they want.
  • Make mobile a must. The majority of patients are likely to respond via their smartphones. Be sure you’re using a survey platform that offers a mobile-optimized user experience.
  • Know that less is more. Users will ditch surveys that are too long or complex – so keep it short! A good rule of thumb? Surveys should take no more than 3 minutes to complete and include less than 10 questions (try to shoot for 5).
  • Tee up your timing. Ask for feedback while the patient experience is still fresh – for example, within a few hours after an appointment.
  • Clue them in. In your survey, use a sentence or two to explain to patients how responses will be used. Often it’s as simple as letting patients know that their feedback will dictate future improvements.
  • Let them know you listened. Did patient feedback lead to specific improvements? Maybe a broader range of treatment options for patients? A friendlier front desk staff? Shorter wait times? A survey is a two-way street, so follow up with patients on how their responses changed things for the better.  

Now Let Us Help You Get Started: Free Survey Template

To help gauge patient satisfaction at your own practice, we’ve created a free template you can use to conduct a patient satisfaction survey for your own practice. Just fill in the blanks to customize it with your own practice details, choose your preferred method for delivery, then use the data you collect to improve your patient outcomes!

Download Free Survey Template

1 Deloitte. “The Value of Patient Experience.” Retrieved from https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/us/Documents/life-sciences-healthcare/us-dchs-the-value-of-patient-experience.pdf (accessed May 22, 2017)
2 Modern Medicine Network, “Convincing Patients to Respond to Surveys Is Easier Than You Think, Retrieved from http://www.physicianspractice.com/patient-relations/convincing-patients-respond-surveys-easier-you-think (accessed Jan 14, 2019)

Topics: Practice Improvement