How to create and run patient satisfaction surveys

Asking broadly about satisfaction (“How satisfied are you with our practice?”) doesn’t give you actionable information.

Categorized as Marketing

Step 1: Identify what you want to know

Before you begin creating your patient satisfaction survey, bring your team together and identify potential problem areas in your practice.

Are patient wait times too long?

Are patients getting enough time with the doctor?

Can patients access their health information and get through to the office when they have questions or requests?

This is a great opportunity to collaborate with staff members and share insights on how the practice could improve.

The goal of this first step is to make sure your survey is asking relevant questions that are solvable.

Asking broadly about satisfaction (“How satisfied are you with our practice?”) doesn’t give you actionable information.

Instead, try asking about specific elements of the patient experience, like “How satisfied are you with the length of time you spend waiting to see a doctor?”

Next, you can focus on whether you want to create a generalized survey or single experience survey.

A generalized survey will cover all areas such as feedback on office premises, doctor’s visit and will give you a broader perspective, whereas single experience survey will only focus on the specific experience immediately after the patient’s visit to a doctor.

Step 2: Create your survey

  • Focus on common areas related to patient satisfaction
  • Identify common questions related to patient satisfaction, for eg. Ease of making an appointment, waiting time, physician and staff interaction etc.
  • Start creating the survey based on this approach and it will help you give a good foundation to your survey.
  • Avoid Binary questions
  • Avoid using ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ questions, as these don’t give you an exact result for your question. Instead, consider using multiple options such as “Extremely happy” “Neutral” “Needs Improvement” such options to help you better understand.
  • Keep it short and simple – Too many questions and options may lead to no responses at all !

Step 3: Choose a platform to launch your survey

  • Software based survey tools – There are several free and paid options for hosting surveys, such as SurveyMonkey, Jotform, and Snap Surveys. Some even offer built-in promotion tools and real-time result charts. Keep in mind that online surveys may be less ideal if your patients don’t have easy access to a computer or a smartphone with internet access.
  • Telephonic Surveys – Since mobile phone penetration is around 81% and landline is around 53%, in the USA, phone surveys are a great way to get patients’ feedback. You can conduct them in-house with a staff member or by hiring a research firm to make the calls and run the data for you.
  • Email Surveys – whatever you can do via software, you can do via email as well. You or your staff can quite easily email patients with a short list of questions to answer. As the responses do start coming in via email, your staff can collect/gather these information and assign scoring to the questions being asked to all patients.
  • Mailed surveys may seem a little old-fashioned, but they’re estimated to be 50% – 150 % cheaper than telephonic surveys.
  • Office Premises – Asking patients to fill out a survey at the end of their visit is a great way to get immediate feedback. You can have staff members hand patients the survey form when they’re checking out or place the forms and a collection box in your waiting room.
  • Survey Kiosks – Patient satisfaction surveys can be conducted via patient intake kiosks that as well. These digital patient intake kiosks must be located in the main reception area of the practice and should let patients provide feedback using a touchscreen. The kiosk provides a convenient, quick and easy method for patients to give their feedback on service offered by the medical practice.

Step 4: Evaluate the results

If you use an online option to create surveys, then it is easier to draw results and create charts.

In case of telephonic, office or email surveys you have to manually note the results in a spreadsheet and then evaluate the results.

It will help you know the areas your practice needs improvement, which in turn will result in providing better quality care to your patients.

Step 5: Make Changes

Next step is to work on the points of improvement.

Plan and work on the changes suggested by your patients.

Observe for a few months and again conduct a survey.

If the outcomes of the service offered, shows positive alignment with patients’ happiness, you are on the right track.

Questions to ask

Here is the list of potential areas that you could consider for your survey:

  • How easy was it for you to schedule an appointment with our facility?
  • How convenient was it for you to reach our premises?
  • How long did you have to wait before being affected by the doctor, post schedule?
  • How satisfied are you with the cleanliness and appearance of our facility?
  • Are you satisfied with the care you received?
  • Was the staff courteous and information was clearly presented?
  • Did the practice give you a brief guided tour of your paperwork and point out relevant lab results?
  • Did the practice encourage you to teach back your lab results and your treatment details back to them?
  • Did the doctor encourage the family members to know about your problem, home remedies?
  • Were you comfortable throughout the visit?
  • What could we have done better?
  • Would you recommend the doctor to a family member or a friend?
  • How would you rate the overall care you received from the doctor?
  • Anything you would like to tell us about?

This should at least get you started with patient satisfaction surveys.