The medical world is continuously evolving, and patients expect their doctor and medical offices to keep up with the health industries’ moves toward innovative treatment and preventative care. One of the most effective ways to judge whether your patients feel they are receiving quality service, according to the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), is to regularly survey your patients. In fact, MGMA reports that nearly 80% of the medical practices they deem as “better-performing,” use patient satisfaction surveys. Just asking for feedback, however, is not enough. Your medical office management group needs to engage with patients, use the information received and decide what changes need to be made based on what patients say.
Before you begin collecting information from your patients, you need to have an idea of what you’re actually going to do with the data. If your medical practice isn’t in the habit of conducting patient surveys, you may want to start with a more generalized questionnaire that will give you a starting point for addressing areas of concern. If, however, you’re aware of a problem area within your practice, it’s good to create a patient survey that focuses on those areas, allowing the patients to offer ideas on how to improve that area of the office.
For example, if you recognize that follow-up care for your patients is an area of opportunity for growth, you may use a survey to ask questions concentrated on the best way to follow-up with them after an appointment, scheduling future appointments and how patients feel about the treatment they received during their visit.
If there’s an area of your practice that you will not or cannot change, don’t waste your patients’ time by putting those questions on the survey. You may have policies or steadfast regulations you are unwilling to change when it comes to appointments, patient care or billing procedures. Don’t include questions just to “gage” how people feel about your policies. Concentrate on getting feedback in the areas you wish to improve.
Medical practice management companies report you can get valuable feedback from your patients by asking key questions. Whether you’re utilizing a general survey or a more focused questionnaire, be sure to include the below questions.
Leaving both of these questions open-ended makes it comfortable for your patients to reveal their feelings on where your office needs to improve and why they would or would not recommend the practice.
Make sure your patient survey is 75% rating questions (i.e. – a five point scale, or grading system) and 25% open ended. Patients don’t want to feel like their writing a novel to give their opinion. Your survey shouldn’t exceed two pages. Keep it short and simple for the best possible return rate.
Once you’ve decided your goal with the survey, narrowed down your survey questions and are ready to distribute, use the below methods to get your survey into patients’ hands.
Once you have collected your returned surveys and analyzed the data, keep your patients up to date with any changes you plan to make based on feedback given. In the long run, this communication will not only let your patients know that you’re utilizing their feedback, but it will help your return rate on future surveys as patient’s recognize you’re actually listening to what they have to say.