The Benefits of Having a Patient Satisfaction SurveyPosted: November 24, 2021 - By Health Dev
If you work at a healthcare practice, your patients are your top priority. You and your staff do everything you can to ensure that each patient gets treated with respect and receives the highest-quality health care. Despite your best efforts, your practice might not be experiencing growth in the way you want. Perhaps you’re having some trouble with patient recalls or bringing down your no-show rate. The solution to such a common shortcoming amongst most practices escapes you.
Have you ever thought to ask your patients about their experiences with your practice? Patient feedback is a valuable resource. They are on the receiving end of your health care services, and you might not know there’s anything wrong until someone says something.
There’s a good chance that your staff doesn’t have the time for a sit-down meeting with every single person who comes into your office to ask them about their patient experience. That doesn’t mean you can’t ask about patient satisfaction via other means.
A patient satisfaction survey offers an easy way to gather feedback from your patients, allowing you to learn more about their experiences and your practice as a whole. Even if you think there’s nothing wrong, measuring patient satisfaction can provide valuable insights that you might never have noticed before.
Whether you use the HCAHPS survey or design your own, here are a few of the benefits having patient satisfaction questionnaires can provide healthcare providers.
1. Show Patients That You Care
One of the top qualities patients want from their healthcare providers is communication. They want to feel like their providers are listening to them. If they don’t, they’re much more likely to look for other healthcare organizations.
There’s no doubt that you want to ensure patient satisfaction. You want to actively show your patients that you are listening and you’re willing to implement changes that will help to improve the practice environment, the quality of patient experience, and overall patient satisfaction scores.
Your survey demonstrates that you want to have an open dialogue with patients. Communication can go a long way in boosting patient satisfaction. Satisfied patients are more likely to stick with your practice long-term, coming back to you when they need the services you provide. They’re also a lot more likely to recommend you to people they know, which can help increase your patient base.
2. Discover Your Practice’s Strengths
While “no news is good news” might work in some situations, it’s not always the case. Satisfied patients aren’t necessarily going to go out of their way to tell you what your practice got right or what they liked about their patient experience.
Maybe they appreciated how easy your website was to navigate or that your staff provided excellent patient-centered care and appropriate patient experience measures. Unfortunately, without asking, you might never know these things.
A patient satisfaction survey can help healthcare organizations learn what their practices are doing well, a factor that often flies under the radar. Learning your strengths as a healthcare provider offers a couple of benefits. For one, it gives you something to explore. You can take a closer look at those factors and assess why they work so well. Then, you can take what you learn and see if you can apply it to other areas of your practice.
Believe it or not, but you can learn just as much from the positive feedback from your patients as you can from negative. Secondly, hearing that positive feedback gives you something to be proud of and celebrate. You can share the feedback with your staff and commend them for their excellent work. That positivity can motivate them, increase their satisfaction, and boost their productivity.
3. Understand Weak Points
While patients might be shy about letting you know what they liked about your practice (especially without being prompted by survey questions), many might not think twice about verbalizing any complaints they might have.
However, if patients are only telling you that they are dissatisfied, you might find it more challenging to pinpoint exactly what the problems are with your health care quality. Providing patients with a satisfaction survey after their appointments offers your practice a more organized way to gather positive and negative feedback.
As you go through the responses, you may start to notice patterns, which can make it easier to identify the areas of trouble within your practice and potential quality improvement initiatives. For instance, you might find that patients are unhappy about your hospital noise levels or that they have to wait in a queue for too long when they first arrive for their annual wellness visit.
After you identify the trouble spots, you can go about implementing changes. Don’t stop there, though. Be sure to follow up with new surveys. That can help you reassess patient satisfaction and gauge how effective your changes were. It’s not just about making changes to placate patients; it’s about making meaningful changes that improve the patient experience.
4. Improve the Day-to-Day Operations in Your Practice
Your staff does a lot during the day. They greet patients and check them in upon arrival. They clean the exam rooms between each visit to guarantee a hygienic hospital environment. They perform a variety of essential administrative tasks to ensure the practice runs efficiently and effectively.
Performing these day-to-day operations allows your staff to provide the high-quality hospital care you patients expect. With this quality improvement, healthcare administrators can affect the patient experience and overall patient satisfaction.
Even minor adjustments to your everyday operations could play a role in improving patient satisfaction overall. Using targeted survey questions such as “how would you rate the cleanliness of our exam rooms?” and “how long did you wait to see your doctor?” can help you see common pain points with your daily procedures. You can then use that information to implement meaningful and effective changes.
Taking steps to improve your day-to-day operations doesn’t only improve patient satisfaction, though. Some changes can also help to make things better for your practice staff too. Let’s say, for example, that your consumer assessment survey shows a common complaint regarding queue wait times. Patients feel like they have to wait too long for someone at the front desk to check them in when they first arrive.
In response, you implement a mobile check-in process. That simplifies and expedites the check-in process for your patients, boosting their satisfaction. At the same time, it removes a tedious task from the shoulders of your clinical staff. It makes their jobs a bit easier and allows them to focus more on patient care.
5. Boost Your Online Reputation
These days, it’s not uncommon for patients to begin their search for healthcare providers online. In fact, it’s how most consumers find pretty much anything they need when conducting healthcare research. As a practice, then, a solid online presence and excellent reputation are vital.
A big part of your online presence is your website. It’s what provides that first impression to potential patients. Prospective patients may browse through it to see what services you offer and what you’re all about to determine if you’re a good fit for their health care needs.
Before they click on your site, however, one of the first things potential patients are likely to do is read reviews indicating previous patient satisfaction. According to findings from Brightlocal, 87% of consumers read online reviews in 2020. Not only that, but medical practices were among the top five industries in which consumers were likely to read reviews.
As mentioned above, people are more likely to leave a bad review than a good one. While a few bad reviews aren’t the end of the world (especially if you take the time to respond to them and help the unhappy patients find a solution), too many can affect your overall reputation. Patient satisfaction surveys could help encourage your patients to leave positive reviews online after they complete their questionnaires. Those additional positive reviews can help boost your online presence. In turn, those reviews can encourage prospective patients to visit your site and ultimately schedule an appointment.
6. Increase Visibility Online
Reviews indicating patient satisfaction can do more than boost your online reputation. They can also help to increase your online visibility by increasing your rank on search engines like Google. These search engines consider numerous factors like the number of reviews you receive, how often you receive new ones, and the variety of review sites on which reviews for your practice get posted. While they’re only a fraction of what goes into determining where you rank, they are worth noting.
Along with implementing a solid search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, how much time patients spend on your website pages, on-page signals, and more, gathering regular reviews can help you place higher on the search engine results pages. The higher your ranking, the more trustworthy you appear to prospective patients. That can help you attract more patients to your practice.
Improve Your Practice with Patient Satisfaction Surveys
Even the best practices can find ways to make themselves better. Patient satisfaction surveys provide a way for you to gather valuable feedback. You can then go through the responses and pinpoint not only common issues but successes, too. Armed with the information, you can then draw meaningful conclusions and implement changes that benefit not only your patients but also your staff and your practice as a whole.
Are you looking for ways to improve and grow your practice? WebMD PracticePro offers an all-in-one growth solution that can help you achieve (and even exceed) your patient satisfaction goals. From attracting patients to patient engagement and retention and everything in between, we offer custom-tailored solutions designed with your practice in mind. For more information and to request your demo, visit WebMD PracticePro today.