Want to find out what patients really think about your practice?

Want to find out what patients really think about your practice?

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Posted: October 11, 2017

Want to find out what patients really think about your practice?

Gaining feedback and input from your patients is critical to ensure continual improvement and minimisation of any aspects that are not proving to be effective for your practice.

Your patients will be grateful and empowered by the opportunity you have provided them to contribute to the future running of your practice. Just by asking, you can differentiate your practice and you let your patients know that you genuinely care about them and that their opinion actually

It is important to know what makes your patients happy. Most of your patients will gladly tell you, but you need to ask for it. You can do this with a survey to determine patient likes and dislikes. You should fully understand as much as possible about your patients.

An online patient surveys brings more honesty to responses and is cost effective to implement and easy to track. Identify exactly what you wish to find out from your patients and then create questions based on this, brevity is best. Survey Monkey is an easy to use free survey tool which is ideal for this purpose.

The following points address some of the benefits of surveying your patients and what you can expect to gain for your practice.

Benefits of using surveys to help enhance patient experience

Gain valuable feedback

Survey questions and answers provide your practice with real feedback on any concerns your patients may have. You can set up the survey’s questions to determine the level of satisfaction your patients are experiencing and use a rating system where possible, you can also include some open-ended questions to allow them to express their thoughts and expand upon their answers. The feedback they provide may just expose issues that you may not have been aware of and give you a chance to remedy them. It can also help you to determine what is working, what makes you unique and hence capitalise on it.

Opportunity to listen to your patients

In addition to helping you improve the patient experience at your practice, a survey also gives patients a chance to let their voices be heard. This is a valuable asset for any business, since more and more consumers are turning to social media to share their thoughts on services and experiences—something that is out of your control and very much public. By providing patients with the opportunity to complete a feedback questionnaire, you can keep possibly damaging feedback under control and dealt with privately. By asking them to participate, you’re also showing your patients that you care about their feedback and that their opinion matters.

Understanding your patients perspective

Results of a survey can give you and your team valuable insight into how your patients actually view your practice. Look at the areas that received poor results and concentrate on improving them. A combination of open-ended and specific questions can help you determine what needs to be improved upon while also sparking potential feedback your patient may not have thought to comment on. The questions in a survey should encompass as much of the patient experience as possible however also keep the survey succinct and brief. 10 questions maximum where possible.

Help determine your priorities

The results of a survey allow you to discover which aspects of your business you need to prioritise. They also allow you to determine if you need to improve your customer service or billing practices, among many other aspects.

To help determine your strengths and weaknesses, ensure you include number-based questions (e.g., rate your overall level of service on a scale of one to 10) and average out the responses to see where each aspect of the patient experience stands in the greater scheme. You may just determine that automating certain processes is the best route to take. You may also discover that your patients are dissatisfied with the service they receive in a certain area of and that further training and staff reviews are in order.

Retain patients

If your patients are satisfied with the service they receive and the overall experience, they are far more likely to stay with your practice. If the survey results indicate that your patients are not happy with the service they are receiving, they may just jump ship and head directly to your competition.

Increase referrals

Despite all of the social media platforms and new technology, nothing beats a good old fashioned word-of-mouth recommendation from a trusted source. If patients are happy with your service, they’ll be recommending you to their friends. Surveys provide a means of finding out just how happy your patients are and what you can do to keep them happy and returning to the practice.

Tracking changes in feedback

Gaining valuable insight into what patients think of your brand is another sound benefit of surveying. If you take the time to produce surveys consistently, you can see how patients are reacting to the changes you’ve made regarding your services or brand positioning etc. You can use their suggestions to further improve your service offering and continue to work on any areas that might need improvement.

Show that you genuinely care

Surveys allow you to directly interact with the patient. Communicating with patients gives you the opportunity to show that you actually care about them and what they think. Particularly, if you are making the changes they suggest and are effectively communicating these modifications, patients do take note and have a deeper appreciation for your brand.

Maintain patient loyalty

You want your patients to stay loyal to your practice and not leave you for your competition. Surveys give you an ideal opportunity to keep patients loyal by listening to their feedback and doing what you can to improve your brand and their experience. In an era where customers need more attention than ever, staying connected—be it through surveys or other means—is crucial to keeping customers loyal.

Identifying trends

Patient surveys aren’t meant to be a one-time thing. They are supposed to be continuous to enable you and your team to identify similarities or trends within your patients’ feedback. Recognising those trends and applying them to your practice is one way to demonstrate to patients that their voices are being heard.

Competitive advantage

It goes without saying that pretty much every market today is highly competitive. That means any advantage your practice can claim needs to be communicated. If you can show patients and prospective patients that you consistently provide an exceptional patient experience then you become that much more appealing.

Conducting regular surveys will  allow your practice to respond to any issues and increase patient loyalty and referrals. Be sure to review survey responses and develop a summary of key findings; share with your team; make plans to act and respond accordingly and be sure to track changes over time.

To find out more about how to enhance your patient experience and utilise surveys to assist you in this process, or if you are seeking support with your marketing strategy and implementation please contact IDN today!

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