Are you listening to your patients? - DoctorsManagement Are you listening to your patients? - DoctorsManagement

Are you listening to your patients?

Patient Satisfaction Survey

In last week’s Tip of the Week, we discussed using patient surveys and suggestion boxes as a tool to listen to your patients. In this second part of our three part series, we will address how to use this feedback to improve patient satisfaction.

Reviewing the patients’ feedback and determine areas of improvement is the most critical step of listening to your patients. What we discover when working with practices is that they enter the feedback into a database and rarely take time to look at the information, much less implement any changes as a result of what they learned. To really listen to your patients, you will need to set up a system to assess the feedback and then devise an action plan that demonstrates that you listen to your patients.

The information discovered from patient feedback can be eye opening to your practice. Here’s how to analyze your data…
Look for trends in the feedback. Identify whether you received a similar suggestion over and over. Do a large number of patients feel they are waiting too long to see the provider? Do most patients feel the waiting area is too cramped and crowded? Look for the patterns and whether they relate to certain areas of the practice.
Once you have sorted the feedback, divide it into four parts: things you can do something about immediately; things you can do something about in time; things over which you have no control, and positive feedback.
For the areas where you can take immediate action, do it. Put simple systems in place, gentle reminders posted in the employee area, reminders at staff meetings, or whatever it takes to get you and your staff taking the action to improve this area.
For things that will take some time to improve, make an action plan and set deadlines for the steps it will take to accomplish the goal. Communicate to the staff and providers what you are doing and that the reason you are doing it is to improve patient satisfaction to ensure you retain and grow your patient base.
For things that you can’t do anything about, determine whether you can use communication to help ease the patient’s frustration. For example, you can post a sign that communicates something that you know patients are unhappy about, but you have no control over. For example, if patients complain about showing their insurance card at every visit, you might post a friendly sign to convey that the insurance company requires that you ask this question.
Finally, celebrate the positive feedback. Everyone appreciates a compliment, so be sure to share the good news with your staff and providers.
Patient survey feedback is an excellent way to grow your practice while improving the relationship with your patients through enhanced communication.

Next week in our final part of the series, we will talk about measuring the level of success of your practice improvement.

If you have questions about this topic or any other issues around the business of medicine, contact us via email or call us at 800-635-4040.