What is a Patient Satisfaction Survey?
A patient satisfaction survey is a set of questions that is used to collect feedback from patients to measure their level of satisfaction with the quality and care of the healthcare service provider. The patient satisfaction survey questionnaire helps adjudge basic metrics across patient care that aid medical institutions to understand the level of care provided and pitfalls in service if any.
Six underlying metrics which patient satisfaction should be measured on are:
- Quality of medical care
- Interpersonal skills displayed by medical professionals
- Transparency and communication between care provider and patient
- Financial aspects of care
- Access to doctors and other medical professional
- Accessibility of care
A patient satisfaction survey can be administered anytime during an electronic medical record (EMR) or an electronic health record (EHR) and it can be completed via mobile, physical copies of the survey, website, POS device, computers in waiting rooms or any other medium.
Two examples of a patient satisfaction survey are, the primary trauma survey where the initial assessment and the management of a trauma patient that enters a medical facility or a hospital is conducted. The second example of a patient satisfaction survey is the secondary trauma survey is an in-depth survey template that is carried out to identify presence of other significant but not immediately life-threatening or other injuries that were missed in the primary trauma survey. Both these sample survey templates collect data about a patient’s satisfaction with how their trauma was dealt with at a hospital or medical facility.
HIPAA compliance for patient satisfaction surveys
Patient care and the medical field are governed by a heightened sense of data integrity. Patients are skeptical to provide medical information because the perception is that the information provided should be treated with extreme confidentiality and care.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), ensures that there is a standard for data collection of sensitive patient information. Under the HIPAA privacy regulations, medical institutions are allowed to conduct assessment surveys to conduct patient care and in general collect actionable feedback for health care operations. Feedback on the quality of care provided by medical professionals as part of a survey or questionnaire that a patient answers is considered a quality assessment and improvement activity and hence is part of the health care operations. Any medical care provider collects patient health information (PHI) then that caregiver is bound by HIPAA compliance.
If the patient provides feedback or answers to the survey as “confidential communication” then as per HIPAA compliance, the patient’s request has to be respected and carried out as requested. QuestionPro has HIPAA compliant survey questions that you can readily deploy to elicit feedback from patients. This ensures that you can only focus on the feedback and not worry about being legally compliant about collecting PHI.
HIPAA also provisions that when PHI is collected, if there are ICD-10 or ICD-11 codes in the survey template, they are adequately marked out and each code is also specified in detail so that the patient is aware of the payer and provider technical information.
What are some sample patient satisfaction survey questions?
Any patient satisfaction survey questionnaire should essentially cover a few important questions for effective feedback collection. This sample survey can be customized according to the details required by the authorities. Here are the top five questions that should inevitably be a part of your patient satisfaction survey:
- Based on your complete experience with our medical care facility, how likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?
Health care has over time, evolved into an extensive industry. When it comes to visiting doctors, trust plays a very significant role. This is why, among all the industries, healthcare is heavily dependent on recommendations from other former or existing patients, based on the care they received and the satisfaction it resulted in. Adding a Net Promoter Score question such as this one can help you understand whether your hospital will get more business from your current patients and their friends/colleagues/families over a considerable course of time.
- Did you have any issues arranging an appointment?
The impact that timely provision of an appointment has on patients is incredible because they are sick or suffer from some ailment and therefore must not be kept waiting. This has a major impact on patient retention and visiting the same medical facility or doctor again. By including this question in the patient satisfaction survey, you can collect information related to timely assignment of appointments and make improvements in the process to increase contentment amongst patients.
- How would you rate the professionalism of our staff?
The care of nurses/doctors and the professionalism of administration and ancillary staff members impact patient satisfaction. Ask this question to know whether your staff was courteous and professional and if proper assistance was provided to the patient in need.
- Are you currently covered under a health insurance plan?
There are certain illnesses which expensive and are covered under health insurance. As there are cases where mishaps happen and legal allegations are charged against the hospital, each and every information of the patient is critical and so is this one. A healthcare insurance survey template can be used to collect information about whether patients have an insurance plan or not.
These four are basic questions that can be at the start of any patient satisfaction survey. You can use our existing patient satisfaction survey template as is or make changes to it and deploy your survey.
What are some specialized patient satisfaction survey questions?
The health industry due to its nature and scale of operation, has many different nodes of care providers. It is important that timely feedback is collected at milestone. The questions will differ from each medical care type though. Some survey questions for the largest medical care facilities are:
- How would you rate the investigative diagnosis process that you underwent?
Patients a lot of times walk into hospitals with localized pain and do not know how to explain the pain and other symptoms to the medical care professionals. This requires knowledge and foresight on the part of the medical care professionals to conduct an investigative diagnosis with a mix of patient history, family history, conducting tests and providing basic medication. The medical examination services template will offer you insight into the patient’s experience during this diagnostic process of providing care.
- How often did you receive conflicting information from different medical care professionals at this hospital?
One of the most important yardstick to understand the calibre of your current staff is to map the number of times a patient received conflicting information from different medical care professionals. This will help put in place a process to disseminate information and conduct on the job training if required.
- What is the difference in care provided by the hospitals available in your area?
It is imperative that hospitals always provide high quality treatment to all its patients. It is also important to build on your strengths whilst implementing best practices from other hospitals in your local area. The healthcare opinion survey template can provide a quick snapshot of how you stand versus your localized peers.
- Was your copayments and coinsurances split correctly between Medicare and Medicaid by the hospital?
Being covered under Medicare and Medicaid is not a personal choice but a federal mandate. Hence if the patients are asked insensitive questions about their coverage and billed incorrectly, this drives patients away. Conducting a healthcare well-being survey, helps streamline services for the aged and underprivileged.
Primary Care Providers
- As a woman, did you feel comfortable talking to the gynaecologist?
A lot of women are skeptical to visit a gynaecologist because they are nervous for many reasons. Collecting feedback through a women’s health care survey on how comfortable someone is with visiting or discussing their problem could make it easier to be me emphatic and make the patient comfortable.
- Is your primary health care physician able to conduct a swift diagnosis and prescribe medication?
When someone is ill, the first instinct is to visit the primary health care physician and not a hospital. More often than not, this is the only medical care required but a patient may me forced to access secondary care if the primary care is inadequate. The physician practices survey template can be used to get feedback on care provided as a first point of contact for a person that is unwell.
Secondary Care Providers
- Did the pharmacy staff bill your health provider and collect the right deductible from you for your medicines?
After the Affordable Care Act (ACA), health insurance is now being more widely used. Due to the nature of the payer ecosystem, health plans are varied by state, federal and private and hence the deductibles vary. Now with Trumpcare replacing ACA, it is important that point-of-sale medical health providers like pharmacies bill the patient right and collect the right deductibles.
- Were the ambulatory staff quick to respond to your medical care request?
Quick responders medical staff are one of the most important medical care providers in the healthcare industry. Timely and effective medical treatment is important for a patient to be able to make a full recovery. Collecting feedback on the timeliness and effectiveness of the each emergency call is important to streamline services and be even more effective.
- How often do you visit a dentist in a year?
Patients are generally hesitant to visit dentists due to lesser knowledge of dental hygiene and the trauma of being in a dentist’s chair. Collecting feedback by using the Oral health survey template can be an important yardstick to measure how comfortable patients are with dentists and how that can be increased.
Specialized Medical Care
- Were the staff sensitive towards your addiction?
Patients are in de-addiction centers a lot of times against their wishes. Despite that, being sensitized to the addiction and getting out of it takes a lot of mental courage and hard work. De-addiction center employees need to stay abreast of how comfortable their methods are towards helping patients deal with their addiction and how effective their methodologies are.
- Did the psychiatrist diagnose your ailment correctly and provide timely counselling?
Mental health is one of the most ignored ailment and also one of the toughest to diagnose because there are very few visible symptoms. This makes the diagnosis and counselling even more tough. Collecting feedback by using a mental health survey template is very important for a psychiatrist because this helps them be even more effective in their job.
- Did the birth home provide good post-natal care?
The birth of a child is one of the most awaited time for a mother and the family. Hence, every aspect of the birthing process has to be top notch and make the mother and child comfortable without medical complications. Collecting feedback from mothers and the families provide a good insight into quality of care provided.
- Were your scan reports provided to you on the same day by the radiology centre?
People sometimes visit standalone radiology centers because their health plan does not cover a radiology lab that’s part of a hospital. This means that an external radiology center increases the time to diagnosis or taking stock of health improvement. Reducing time to get reports increase the patient satisfaction level and the radiology center must work to constantly streamline processes.
Extended Medical Care Organizations
- Did the extended medical care facility provide you helpful inputs about coming back to living in society?
People that have been in an extended medical care facility and are returning to society after many years are not aware as to how living by themselves will be after a long duration. Counselors at the extended medical care facility should provide guidelines to live by and make the patient abreast of the things that have to be done when they go back to living in society.
- Rate the experience provided to you by the medical staff in the last 12 months?
A lot of patients have to stay in an extended medical care facility because of certain ailments, mental health, requiring constant care etc. Collecting feedback on their perception of the care provided, what went wrong and what was done well helps build a robust and streamlined care providing experience.
- How long did the veterinarian take to diagnose your pets ailment?
Diagnosing what is wrong with animals is tougher because symptoms cannot be validated very easily. Hence a right timely diagnosis becomes that much more crucial to the health of the pet. Conducting a veterinarian survey helps collect objective actionable feedback from the pet owner about the treatment process.
How can you create a patient satisfaction questionnaire?
A patient satisfaction survey needs to contain the right questions that help elicit a higher number of responses. They also have to be holistic in nature and cover all touch-points of a patient’s medical care while being easy to answer and be a mix of open-ended survey questions and other question types. It is also helpful to map out problem areas and understand from your customers – the patients the extent of the issue and areas that can be worked upon.
Why should you conduct a patient satisfaction survey?
In many cases, certain facets of a medical facility’s functioning remain unaddressed due to an infrequent collection of patient feedback and the sheer lack of information regarding those issues faced by patients while availing for consultation and treatment. This is where patient satisfaction surveys provide an effective platform for patients to provide an honest feedback, based on their experience. Let’s look at why conducting periodic patient satisfaction surveys are critical towards maintaining and growing your patient visitors. There are five reasons why you should conduct a patient satisfaction survey.
- Map and track a patient’s journey: It is important for a medical institute to keep track of their patient’s satisfaction, based on the provided effective care. In order to ensure effective patient care at every point of significant interaction with the medical staff, and your institution at large, it is always recommended to conduct patient satisfaction surveys at multiple points of their journey. This enables you to track the points where satisfaction is low and remedy them.
- Gather data about the patient loyalty: Including a Net Promoter Score question: “Considering your complete experience with our medical facility, how likely would you be to recommend us to a friend or colleague?” – will help you understand how loyal your patients are as each patient will definitely talk to their friends and colleagues about their experience after they are done with their treatment.
- On the basis of their responses, patients will be divided into three categories: Promoters (9-10), Passives (7-8) and Detractors (0-6).
- In many cases, if patients have had a terrible experience (i.e. detractors) or a pleasant experience (i.e. promoters), they will definitely talk about the experience within their network of friends and colleagues. While a terrible experience will cause damage to your facility’s reputation, a pleasant experience will definitely be successful in building a positive reputation.
- Thus, hospital authorities should calculate their Net Promoter Score either at every patient journey touchpoint or towards the end of their treatment to constantly ensure that issues by detractive patients are addressed, efforts are made to convert passives into promoters and promoters are kept satisfied with each treatment experience.
- Report any ill-treatment by staff members: A patient satisfaction survey template promotes transparency by providing patients a medium to talk about any ill-treatment from hospital staff and bring it to the management’s notice. The management can take a step to either fire those staff members or train them to be respectful towards each and every patient who visits the medical facility.
- Effective patient care: By conducting a patient satisfaction survey, medical institutions can analyze the gap between patient demands and their provisions. Medical facilities can improve visibility into their operational efficiency, which can be used to bridge the identified gap.
- Every industry has become customer-centric, and the healthcare sector is no different. There are a considerable number of areas in a medical institution’s operations which need improvement and this is where learning from the customers directly becomes effective. Your hospital or healthcare organization can include questions about how you can serve the patients better to keep evolving according to the evolution happening in patient thoughts and opinions.
- Offer timely services to patients: 8 out of 10 medical authorities were of the opinion that they attended all their patients precisely at their respective appointment slots. Whereas, almost 50% of patients opined otherwise – they never get called in at their precise appointment time.
- Gain insights about hygiene levels: Hygiene levels of a hospital reflect on how well-maintained it is and there is a significant sample of patients who would prefer visiting a hospital offering clean and hygienic facilities. You can include questions regarding this aspect of the questionnaire.