6 Ways Patient Surveys Can Improve Your Practice
Consumer surveys are a popular method of gaining customer feedback in order to fine-tune business processes and customer experience. They are commonly used across the retail and service industries, but the healthcare sector often underestimates their value.
In their 2018 report, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare identified understanding patient and consumer experience of health services as a key priority for the future, due to existing pain-points in tracking patient experiences and individual pathways through the health system.
Patient surveys provide an effective way of obtaining feedback in order to build a more efficient health care system – here are the key benefits of using patient surveys to improve your practice:
1. Identify your Strengths
A key benefit of patient surveys is the ability to identify when your processes are going right or wrong. With survey applications, you can gather easy-to-understand data that informs business decisions. By receiving regular feedback, you gain a measure of your patient satisfaction levels and a chance to celebrate your strengths – empowering you to explore where your service can be improved.
Additionally, knowing your strengths can enable you to replicate them across other areas of your practice, improve motivation levels for your staff and give you leeway to focus on other processes. You should use the data collated from patient surveys to regularly assess your strengths and optimise processes.
2. More Patient Conversations
A notable benefit of surveys is letting patients know you're listening to them, and giving them the chance to provide feedback. Surveys offer a level of anonymity over face-to-face discussion, meaning your patients are likely to deliver more honest feedback.
Additionally, implementing patient surveys into your practice contributes to improving patient engagement, as surveys can be completed in your practice or online, giving your patients flexibility to fill out feedback where is most convenient for them.
3. Increased Patient Engagement
Patient voice is a growing concept in the healthcare sector, with increasing recognition of how patients' interactions with their healthcare provider can contribute to the success of their treatment.
There are demonstrable examples of the relationship between positive health outcomes and increased patient engagement. For example, it is proven that the more active patients are in their healthcare, the more likely they are to:
- Feel confident about managing their conditions
- Recall necessary information and knowledge
- Report that the chosen treatment was right for them
- Feel satisfied with their care and treatment
- Adhere to their chosen treatment according to protocols
- Participate in monitoring and prevention activities
Traditional healthcare paternalism has left patients feeling jaded with the level of agency they’ve had in their care. This is not ideal as the Australian healthcare sector moves towards ensuring patients are engaged with their health and active participants in their care. Patient surveys can help your practice tackle this.
4. Overcome Engagement Barriers
In 2017, Commonwealth, State and Territory health ministers of Australia agreed that use of digital technology to improve accessibility, quality, safety, and efficiency of care should be a strategic priority. As a healthcare provider, it's your responsibility to ensure that the services you provide and the technology you use are delivered with accessibility and inclusivity in mind.
It goes without saying that translated healthcare information and accessible digital check-in kiosks should be available to your patients, but what about their feedback? Patient surveys can help you overcome barriers to engagement through translation and accessibility functions - such as programs for visually impaired patients. This benefits your practice by drawing data from a wider demographic, giving you an accurate representation of patient trends.
5. Improved Performance
Patient surveys give you the ability to collate and analyse data to improve your performance and pinpoint issues. By identifying potential shortfalls in the healthcare experience that you deliver, you can effectively manage issues and discover ways to boost your performance. Designing patient surveys around the areas of service that are most in need of development is a dependable tactic for discovering ways you can effectively enhance processes.
Additionally, consistent patient feedback from surveys allows your practice to identify trends and concerns before they become issues. And, inbuilt analytics make understanding these trends simple - allowing you to proactively address them. You no longer need to wait for an official complaint from patient to identify issues or shortfalls, instead you're empowered to swiftly address performance issues.
You can use patient surveys to assess your performance across an almost infinite number of criteria – the only limit
Depending on their complexity, surveys have the potential to gather rich data on patient experience, satisfaction, and demographics. Likewise, you also can create highly-focused surveys that simply provide you with one or two key insights. In short, you can channel your data-collection depending on your specific needs.
It’s important to keep in mind that, unless you have the analytic software to interpret the responses, you’ll need to factor in plenty of time to work through all your data and analyse the results manually.
Despite this, patient surveys should not be invalidated as a useful resource. Rather than attempting to measure the quality of the medical treatment provided, they can be used as a means of assessing a patients' experience with a surgery, practice, or hospital.
Patient surveys empower healthcare providers to identify their strengths and weaknesses. This leads to enabling them to provide better services, with targeted improvements and increased confidence in working practices.