“It takes two to speak the truth – one to speak and another to hear.” ― Henry David Thoreau
The patient satisfaction survey is an invaluable tool for physicians aiming to improve communication with their patients and engage them in their care. At Specialdocs, we encourage and work with our physician-clients to conduct ongoing surveys in order to regularly gauge patient likes and dislikes, and ask for improvement suggestions.
After reviewing seven years of data, we found that 98 percent of the thousands of patients we surveyed on behalf of our concierge physicians were very satisfied with the care they received….powerful confirmation that our physicians are maintaining the high quality of care and level of service they strive to provide.
We encourage all physicians to take the pulse of their practice with annual patient satisfaction evaluations. Consider these five best practices, culled from years of conducting surveys for our ‘Special Docs’:
- Keep survey results anonymous. Patients are more likely to share their honest opinions when they know their identities will remain confidential.
- Limit the length of the survey. Keep patients’ attention by creating a survey that takes no longer than 5 minutes to complete.
- Send a reminder. If response rates are low at the end of a week, consider sending patients a brief note encouraging them to take the survey.
- Limit the number of required questions. Leave it to the patient’s discretion to decide how many questions he/she needs to answer. Too many required questions could disrupt the flow and lessen the response rate.
- Organize the survey in a logical manner. Group questions that cover similar topics together to create brief survey sections. Several sections defined by page breaks can also make a longer survey seem more manageable.
You may want to consider partnering with an outside vendor who can maintain patient anonymity, provide objective interpretations of the results and organize data into digestible reports. Once gathered and reviewed, take action on suggestions for appropriate improvements as quickly as you can.