There’s no question that patient surveys are a valuable tool for improving care quality and patient satisfaction. Surveys play a critical role in improving the overall patient experience and HCAHPS metrics. Here’s how healthcare organizations are leveraging this powerful tool to support quality improvement initiatives.
Improving HCAHPS Metrics
Regulatory pressure changed everything. In 2008, Medicare began posting patient satisfaction scores on the Hospital Compare website. Four years later, hospitals began losing small percentages of Medicare payments to other hospitals with higher scores on several quality metrics, including patient satisfaction. According to a recent West survey, nearly all patients (96%) say it’s important that they feel satisfied with the healthcare professionals they visit.
Improving Patient Experience
Most service-based industries rely on customer surveys to gauge customer satisfaction and experience, and the appeal of leveraging this data is gaining popularity in healthcare. Most of all, patients welcome surveys from their providers. Eighty-six percent of Americans say they would likely take a survey from a healthcare organization if asked. The reason—to improve their health and give feedback to HCPs on how they did.
And, they aren’t just interested in offering feedback on one kind of survey. Patients are willing to take part in a variety of surveys including patient satisfaction (86%), post-discharge surveys (85%), health risk assessment surveys (83%) and medication adherence surveys (74%).
Patients may be interested in offering feedback, but convincing them to respond to a survey is another thing. However, it may be easier than you think. Following three simple steps can help your healthcare organization encourage patient participation:
Step 1 – Make It More Convenient and Simple to Use
The days of having office staff conduct surveys are over. A successful patient survey leverages technology and uses strategies that motivate patients to respond, such as allowing patients to take the surveys after leaving the provider’s office.
Forty-three percent of Americans say they would prefer taking a survey on their own time, and 33 percent would likely take one if given the choice of using any device. This is why online surveys are attractive to patients. They allow patients the flexibility to answer questions when it’s most convenient for them, not when someone calls at an unexpected time or when they feel pressured during the office visit.
Step 2 – Educate Patients on How Surveys Can Benefit Them
Taking time to explain to patients why they are being asked to participate in surveys and how their responses can improve their experience is critical. Patients are interested in improving their health, so they are more likely to take a survey if they understand how it would help with their treatment (42%), monitor their chronic condition (39%) or prevent them from being admitted or readmitted to the hospital (40%).
Step 3 – Give Patients Some Extra Encouragement
Patients want to know their feedback matters. Getting an actual healthcare professional to react to the results could help drive survey completion. Thirty-four percent of patients say they’d be more apt to take a survey if a healthcare professional followed up with them immediately afterward. And 32 percent would be more likely to take a survey if their provider would intervene or follow up via text message or online chat.
Both healthcare organizations and patients agree that surveys are critical to improving care and outcomes. Customer feedback provides businesses with invaluable insight to improve their services, products and overall customer experience. The same holds true for healthcare organizations in their efforts to improve the patient experience.
To learn more about what patient surveys can do, check out our infographic, “The Power of Patient Surveys.”