tabsurvey blog

Best questions for a patient satisfaction survey

Background

I remember when tabsurvey first started out as a Software as a Service (SaaS) company. For a few years we had been selling our service to customers that we approached directly. Either through cold canvassing or our network. But one day back in February 2012, we launched our service online for anyone to sign up for and try. It was quite existing for us, and I clearly remember our first signup. It was an Australian hospital, and their patient satisfaction survey was titled: Patient Centered Care. Since then other hospitals and medical institutions have started using our service for conducting patient satisfaction surveys of different kinds.

In this blog post I will deal with some issues related to patient satisfaction surveys. Firstly, the importance of conducting patient satisfaction surveys in the first place. Secondly, how a patient satisfaction survey differs from other satisfaction surveys in nature. Finally, I will address which key issues to focus on, what questions to ask, and lastly, how to ask them.

 

Why perform a patient satisfaction survey?

I have lived most of my life in Denmark, where we have a free and fairly well-functioning healthcare system. Therefore, you may ask yourself why it’s important to survey patients. You could argue that since there’s a public system in place, there really isn’t much of an alternative.

However, under different governments, the public healthcare system has been subject to large cost-saving initiatives. At the same time, we expect the same services for less money. Cutbacks, restructuring of work processes and new IT-systems are all part of the new reality for doctors, nurses and all other employees. As a consequence, and for various reasons, the public healthcare system needs to prove a point. It needs to prove to patients, politicians and society in general that it cares about the services it provides and patient satisfaction.

patient satisfaction survey

 

The private healthcare sector hasn’t not been subject to the same political pressure, but still it finds itself in an increasingly competitive market. Over the past 15-20 years, the use of private healthcare has been become popular in Denmark. So, not only is personal health a very important matter to most people, making related KPIs important to track. The sector is also subject to increased competition, which means that patient satisfaction becomes a business critical KPI. Both in the private and public healthcare sector.

Most countries in the world don’t have public healthcare, and for that reason running patient satisfaction surveys is even more relevant. There are some pitfalls, however, which I will address below.

Focus areas for patient satisfaction surveys

You know the term “the customer is always right”, right? In retail surveys we assume that making the customer happy and satisfied will yield positive ratings and more business. If the customer purchases an item for a competitive price and receives good service, then we expect the feedback to be positive. However, when dealing with healthcare, there’s a distinction between what a patient needs and what a patient wants.

Let me give you an example: A patient is receiving treatment for her back injuries. Between her and a medical specialist in charge there’s a discussion regarding the course for the treatment. The patient wants an operation, but the specialist advocates back exercises and pain-killers – a more moderate approach. Consequently, the patient may rate her treatment poorly even though the suggestions from the medical specialist were the best approach. In such a case, high overall satisfaction may not necessarily be the end gold in itself, but a range of benchmark criteria could be.

According to the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) the following nine areas are key to a patient satisfaction survey:

  • Communication with doctors
  • Communication with nurses
  • Responsiveness of hospital staff
  • Pain management
  • Communication about medicines
  • Discharge information
  • Cleanliness of the hospital environment
  • Quietness of the hospital environment
  • Transition of care

These key areas would be accompanied by various questions about demographics. As you can probably tell from the above, a lot of focus revolves around communication and information, and this plays well into the strategy of Patient Centered Care.

 

Patient Centered Care as a guiding principle

Simply put, patient centered care is a strategy or philosophy where all activities in a hospital or other medical facility is mapped to the patient’s needs. According to NEJM Catalyst Patient Centered Care means that: “…the healthcare system’s mission, vision, values, leadership, and quality-improvement drivers are aligned to patient-centered goals.” They list six other criteria, e.g. the delivery of care, physical comfort, patient preferences, the role of patient families and how information is shared.

patient centered care

NEJM goes on to say that one of the benefits of Patient Centered Care is “improved satisfaction scores among patients and their families”. That means that some of the elements of patient centered care can be surveyed and hence become important KPIs for further scrutiny. This is why patient satisfaction surveys support patient centered care so well. It simply ensures that there’s an constant focus on the patient’s goals.

Take for instance the element of communication and information. From a patient point of view, it can be fairly easy to recall how she feels informed and communicated to, but for the responsible doctor or nurse, who sees maybe 25 patients in one day, it can be difficult to recall the dialogue, or the process around the handover of patient information etc. Hence, it’s difficult to reflect on a single patient’s feedback especially if its presented in a monthly or quarterly satisfaction report.

 

Best questions for a patient satisfaction survey

Using a tablet-based survey service like tabsurvey can serve as an enabler for dialogue, feedback, understanding and eventually better patient retention. We propose a two-tier strategy where you survey satisfaction on the day-to-day interactions with quick surveys.

 

patient satisfaction surveys

 

Bearing in mind the focus areas mentioned earlier in this post, some of the best questions for patient satisfaction surveys include:

  1. How would you rate the communication with medical staff today?
  2. Did the care provider listen to your questions or concerns?
  3. How well did the staff work together in their care for you?
  4. Do you have confidence in your current care provider?
  5. How well were you informed about the procedure you are undergoing today?
  6. Based on your most recent experience, would you recommend our clinic to a family member or friend?
  7. Were our staff friendly and forthcoming today?

The purpose of these questions is to ensure that all personnel strive towards the underlying KPIs. These KPIs are, in turn, often linked to vision, mission, values and culture. In other words when people know what KPIs they are measured on, then their behaviour will automatically follow.

The long term KPIs, which would focus on the long term goals of a treatment (i.e. being cured), would not be art of the survey, as respondents would not be able to answer properly until a certain period of time had passed. The medical staff could present such questions on a follow-up consultation or as a survey link via an email.

Hope you enjoyed today’s post and hope that you might start using tabsurvey for your patient satisfaction survey.

Customer Happiness Or Not

“Were you happy or not with your experience today?”

You have probably been asked this question on more than one occasion. Either when you were doing your shopping online or visiting a physical store or outlet.

 

The trend of having a device placed near the exit of a store has come to stay. You meet them in airports, on gas stations and convenience stores and many other places. It’s a trend that has evolved rapidly for various reasons: For one, it signals to the customer that: “Hey, we care about you as our customer”, which I guess is a good thing. It also gives the surveyor (e.g. the retailer) some sort of indication of how the store is doing in terms of customer satisfaction – i.e. were they happy or not. Also, quite nifty if you want to run a successful business.

Asking is committing

However, there are some issues that are inherent to this way to interacting with the customer. When someone is asked about his or her experience, and experience wasn’t all that great, then as a customer or a respondent, you expect your experience to change for the better the next time you visit the store. For instance, let’s assume you went to a store to purchase a pair of pants, and they didn’t have your size. On the way out you’re asked about your experience on one of those smiley stands. You look around to see if anyone is watching before you smack the red angry smiley with your hand.

are customers happy or notLater that week, the store manager reviews the answers of the week, and notices your negative response. But she also thinks to herself: “Our average score is up from the week before, so I guess the new displays we had installed really worked!”

You go back to the store the following week, only to find that the store still doesn’t have your size. The disconnect between question and answer is obvious, nevertheless the smiley stand is more popular than ever.

The missing link

In our view, the appropriate way to interact with the visiting customer is obviously to ask about the shopping experience. But it’s also important to have a follow-up question to understand the why. Why was the customer happy or not, what was missing? What could be done to improve the experience?

customer happiness

From my experience in working with retailers over the past 11 years, I know that if you want to work with a KPI – for instance customer satisfaction, it’s not enough to measure it. You also need to understand specifically how to improve it. Does the store need to staff up during peak periods? Do they need to be more attentive to product range and availability? Does staff meet the customers in a friendly and helpful way? Does anyone really care about the new displays? The list goes on, and you really won’t know, if you don’t ask.

 

 

You can seek inspiration on what great questions to ask in this voice of the customer case, or in this blog post. Be sure to also visit this guide on how to avoid typical pitfalls when placing your device in the store.

 

Survey methods for better strategic fit

The two sides to business feedback (Part 2)

Last article gave an account of the two main approaches to surveys; namely, push and pull. Today’ blog will focus on getting the mix right for you and your organisation. We give you four essential questions that, when answered, will give you a clearer view of your best fit in terms of survey methods.

Getting to the right mix is not a one solution fix for all companies and will change along with context. Rather, it is a roadmap to understanding important factors of influence. What is a best fit for your organisation will likely fail for others. So, factor in the difference, take what you can use from the questions below and find your ideal fit!

 

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subjective questions result in survey mistakes

Avoid making these survey mistakes

Avoid survey mistakes with these tips!

Have you ever been asked one of those irritating questions where you don’t know exactly how to respond? We call them survey mistakes, as the surveyor often doesn’t intend for these to happen, but they are still very annoying for the responder.

Imagine you are at a mall and go into a store. There they ask for feedback from their customers. You get prompted with a “Hi, please give us some feedback” on an iPad device. Next up you see the questions, one of which might sound something like “Did you find what you were looking for?” (Yes/No).

Now imagine how a person could potentially respond to this question. If they walked in just to browse through what you have, then the question is probably quite hard to answer. The question assumes that everyone is looking for something specific. If they found what they were looking for, but maybe not in the right size/colour, then a yes or no question also makes answering difficult. Yes, they found what they were looking for, but not exactly.

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Improved communication at the second largest festival in Europe

Despite intense workload and more than 130.000 people in attendance, Roskilde Festival improved communication throughout the entire week.

improved communication roskilde festival

This year, tabsurvey attended Roskilde Festival and had a blast. We got a close look at how the machine behind the great festival operates and were purview to the new structure at Roskilde Festival that is developing. Roskilde Festival used tabsurvey to look at the internal relations amongst the different stakeholders. This was done to focus on improved communication and teamwork amongst the different groups operating within Roskilde Festival.

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hook more customers to survey

Are you persuading customers to respond to your survey?

How to hook more customers to your survey

In the previous blog, we discussed the placement of the survey was important for decreasing response pain. We wrote on how to look at the customer journey and factors to consider when blueprinting your survey placement. Today’s blog has a more positive approach to the survey. We focus on how your company can hook more customers to respond to your survey. What is crucial in the split seconds when decisions are made on whether or not to respond? We will look to customer’s initial impression of the survey and give a how-to, to get more customers to engage with a stationary survey system. Continue reading →

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