Patient surveys are a popular way to measure how engaged and satisfied patients are with their healthcare and treatment, but which questions should you ask to get useful insight into your practice?
Numerous reports, studies and reviews have successfully linked patient engagement to positive treatment outcomes. Ensuring patients are engaged with their care and treatment is generally accepted as a significant element of effective modern healthcare.
And it’s hard to argue against this. After all, your average patient might only spend a few hours a year with healthcare professionals, but they spend thousands and thousands actively participating in their own care and treatment.
Simply put, an engaged patient believes the treatment and care suggested will improve their life. It’s the difference between simply taking medication that’s been prescribed and combining that medication with exercise and a change in diet.
Why conduct patient surveys?
Unfortunately, a wide range of factors influence patient engagement, some easy to quantify and some distinctly not so, making it a difficult metric to measure. Patient surveys are a great way for practices to understand how engaged patients are and to uncover actionable insight into why this is the case.
What works for one practice though, won’t necessarily work for another. To capture results that are meaningful to you, you’ll need to carefully consider your needs and then craft your patient survey to get the answers required.
One of the most important components you’ll need to consider is which questions you’re going to ask. Obviously, this will differ from one practice to the next, and you’ll require a unique set of questions, but at Jayex we believe these 7 are vital to any engagement survey:
1. Are your language needs being met?
The societies we inhabit bring together people from all over the world and none of them should receive a lower standard of healthcare. Although language barriers can be tricky, if a patient can't understand you, they won't engage with the treatment and care you recommend.
Advising patients to bring a a chaperone if they struggle to communicate in English can be a simple way to overcome language barriers, as can hiring professionals who are fluent in languages that are frequently used by your patients.
This isn’t just essential for conversations between patients and healthcare professionals, but also includes the signage in your practice, as well as the information communicated in your waiting rooms.
And of course, this extends to any patient surveys too.
2. Are your accessibility needs being met?
As well as meeting the communication needs of patients, it's also important that your practice is meeting any accessibility needs your patients may have.
This includes ensuring your practice is completely accessible to people with mobility disabilities, which includes the availabilty of accessible medical equipment and healthcare professionals who are trained to use it.
You should also be able to meet any other physical impairments, for example deafness or blindness, as well as putting in place any measures which will enable you to better treat patients with mental health issues.
It's important to note that patients with any additional accessibility or communication needs should NEVER receive a lower standard of experience and this extends to taking part in patient surveys
3. Do you feel involved in treatment decisions?
Patients are more likely to engage with treatment and care if they feel like an active part of the decision-making process. If they have a hand in choosing what comes next, they're much more likely to adhere to the suggested course of action.
Simply ensuring healthcare professionals at your practice present and explain different treatment options can make patients feel much more involved.
It's vital that patients fully understand what the suggested treatment or care entails, why it's important and what the benefits will be, along with potential side-effects. Only then can a patient truly be on-board and invested in their care.
4. How easy is it for you to book an appointment when you need to?
Sometimes the barriers to patient engagement are straightforward, for example, if a patient is unable to easily and conveniently book appointments, they’re unlikely to feel engaged with their care.
Asking this question can help you make choices that affect how you manage your practice by revealing problematic trends in staffing or issues with your booking or check-in systems.
5. Are you aware of and able to use the patient self-service portal?
The use of self-service portals in healthcare is quickly becoming commonplace for tasks like booking appointments, ordering repeat prescriptions, viewing test results and looking up basic medical advice. If your practice has one, this question is a must-ask.
Putting this in patients’ hands makes healthcare more accessible but only if they understand how to use the tool. Including this question in your survey helps you better manage usage of your patient portal.
6. Would you recommend us to family or friends?
This question provides your Net Promoter Score – generally considered the benchmark
for measuring customer satisfaction for businesses, it’s just as important in healthcare. There’s a reason that Harvard Business Review calls this “the one number you need to grow”.
In the case of a negative response, it’s also important to ascertain why the patient responded as they did, so you can adress the issue.
Much like patient engagment, patient dissatisfaction can be caused by a wide range of issues, from long queue times and a hard to navigate practice, to a breakdown in relationship with healthcare professionals.
7. Is there anything else you’d like to communicate to us?
No survey can cover everything patients will want to talk about, but by simply ending with this open question, you could uncover new insights into patient engagement at your practice.
Although these 7 questions are vital to a patient engagement survey, there are thousands of others you could ask to discover actionable insights about increasing patient engagement at your practice.
Using a digital interface to deliver your survey enables you to add, delete and edit questions at the touch of a button, as well as providing the convenience needed to achieve a wide reach and high response rate.
Click here to learn how our Enlighten Surveys solution enable you to create easy-to-use, fully customisable surveys – giving you easy to understand data that can be used to inform business decisions.Back to blog