Patient Satisfaction: Great Questions To Ask In Your Next Survey
With the pressure on healthcare providers only continuing to grow and patients becoming ever more vocal about communicating any challenges they’re experiencing; the issue of patient satisfaction has never been more important.
Subsequently, the need to better understand your patients’ experiences and their satisfaction with them is crucial if you’re to continue to improve standards of care and deliver better patient outcomes. And the best place to start with this if you’re not already doing so is to be creating and issuing regular patient satisfaction surveys.
From their experience with trying to book an appointment, their interactions with your reception staff and impressions about the comfort and cleanliness of your healthcare facilities, to their satisfaction with your treatment, your medical practitioners and your wider services. The patient experience encompasses many areas and interactions. So, it’s important that you try to cover as many of these as you can in your questions, so you’re capturing all of your patients’ experiences during their journey with you.
To help get you started, we’ll go on to explore what we consider to be some of the most crucial questions to include in a patient satisfaction survey. Alongside each question we’ll also give you a brief outline of why we included it.
Patient satisfaction survey questions for your next survey
While your survey is likely to include a mix of closed and open-ended questions. For the intents and purposes of this blog piece we’ll focus on open-ended questions, which allow you to get more detailed and insightful feedback from respondents.
"What was your experience of booking appointments like?"
Given that this is usually the starting point for most patients on their journey with a healthcare provider, this is a good question to begin with.
Asking about your patient’s experience of booking appointments, will also help you to understand whether any of them have experienced any difficulties with booking appointments and how satisfied they are with the process overall.
If you have a digital booking appointments system, you’ll want to ensure this is as smooth as possible for your patients, with no bottlenecks disrupting the process.
"Did your appointment take place at the scheduled time and date?"
Besides their experience of booking an appointment, patient satisfaction is also impacted by how long they have to wait for that appointment. Ideally the timelier it is, the higher the levels of patient satisfaction are likely to be. So, this is an important question to include.
Although, timely appointments are preferable, they are not always possible. Therefore, it’s prudent to set realistic expectations from the outset. For example, an early appointment date that then has to be cancelled nearer to that appointment time due to resource constraints, is likely to cause more patient dissatisfaction than having to wait for a longer appointment date that ultimately goes ahead.
"How would you rate your experience with our reception staff?"
Given that your reception staff are likely to be your patients first face to face contact with your business, which will help influence their perception of it, this is a good question to include.
You’ll want the quality of that interaction and your patient’s satisfaction with it to be as good as it can be, so be sure to offer as warm and helpful a welcome as you can.
Investing in staff training can help you to keep on top of this, by continuing to improve their communication and collaboration skills.
"What did you think about the comfort and cleanliness of our facilities?"
When it comes to your survey, you’ll always want to include this question, as the environment that a patient is treated in can make a big difference to their overall levels of satisfaction.
Besides making your environment as clean as you can, you’ll want to create a welcoming atmosphere, which can be improved through things like comfortable seating, plenty of space, pleasant fittings and fixtures, decent lighting and temperature control.
"Did the care you received meet with your expectations?"
Your patient’s treatment is one of the most important facets of their overall experience. Therefore, a question that asks how satisfied that patient was with the care they received, is another vital one to include.
As well as enquiring about the treatment and services they received, this question should also offer the opportunity for a patient to talk about any concerns they might have.
"Were you given clear information from our medical professionals about any further steps you may need to take?"
Before any treatment or procedure is carried out, patients should be given sufficient information to make an informed decision about their care.
You may want to include a further question that asks patients if their doctor also considered their medical history when creating a treatment plan.
This question important as it will help you to measure the performance of your medical professionals.
"Did you experience any problems locating your consulting or treatment room?"
If your premises are large and spread out like many hospitals and your signage is not that clear, it can be really difficult and frustrating for some patients to locate the room where they’re due to have their consultation or treatment.
Such an unnecessary inconvenience can also place huge stress on a healthcare professional who it is trying their best to keep all on their appointments running to schedule. So, it’s a good question to include to see how well you’re performing in this area.
"What do you believe makes our practice stand out from other practices in the area?"
From GP surgeries to dentists and opticians. This question can be particularly useful for medical professionals operating in the private sector, that have to compete for patients with other practices.
Whether it's providing a specialised service that no one else offers or utilising the latest technology developments, ask your patients what sets you apart from your competitors and gives you an edge in your market.
"Are there any services or treatments that we could provide faster or more efficiently?"
Probably one of the most important questions you need answers to concern your patient’s experience with your service delivery.
While you’ll want it to be fast and efficient, asking patients this question may reveal bottlenecks in your service that can only be resolved with a more efficient allocation of resources.
"Can you suggest any additional features or services that we could add to make your experience even better?"
There are always new ways in which you can improve your experience, but trying to come up with fresh ideas all by yourself can be challenging.
Consequently, by reaching out to your patients with this question, they may come up with some suggestions that you may never have otherwise considered.
It’s always worth bearing in mind that any additional features or services you go on to offer as a result of these ideas may also extend your market reach to new target audiences. So, it’s definitely a worthwhile question that you need to include.
"Are you satisfied with the digital experience we’re providing for you?"
In today’s healthcare landscape, providers need to provide the same quality of experience both at the front desk and on any digital platforms used by their patients, which need to work seamlessly together.
Just having a web presence is no longer enough. To improve patient’s digital experience, you need to enable them to easily book appointments, request medical prescriptions, make payments, ask questions with the help of chatbots or FAQs and much more. And making sure that any website and data collection systems you use are also seamlessly integrated with essential systems such as your electronic medical records, will ensure your front end and digital systems are each contributing effectively to your patient experience.
"How likely is it that you would recommend our practice?"
When it comes to measuring patient satisfaction and patient experience one of the best ways is to introduce a metric question. And one the most effective ones is through asking the above question as part of the Patient Net Promoter Score® (NPS) metric.
Based on the original Net Promoter Score question, the Patient Net Promoter Score looks to measure the loyalty of your patients in terms of their willingness to recommend you to others. Consequently, this metric can provide you with valuable insight into how your patients feel about your service, and it’s also a great way to measure the success of any patient initiatives you may have introduced to help improve your patient experience.
"Overall, how satisfied were you with your appointment?"
If you’re to get a better appreciation of your patient’s overall perception with the care they have received from you and any areas you need to improve, then this is another really good question to include.
In addition, tracking patient satisfaction over time can provide essential insights into what’s working and what needs tweaking to ensure the best patient outcomes.
"How likely would you return to us for future medical treatment or visits?"
Finally, while this question is not looking to assess your patient’s likelihood to recommend you to someone else, it's similar to the Patient Net Promoter Score question in that it’s focused on gauging your patient’s loyalty. So, for that reason, it’s a really good question for you to include.
Feedback is the starting point to improving your patient experience
We hope you’ve found this blog interesting, and it’s given you a few ideas about what questions to include in your next patient survey.
The most important thing to remember in all of this is that ongoing patient feedback is the starting point to improving your patient experience, as without this you won’t get very far.
Whatever treatment they need or whatever condition they may be suffering from that need’s your support, it’s your job to help make them feel as comfortable and positive as you can during their patient journey with you. And if you can use their feedback to consistently improve their patient satisfaction and experience, you’re more likely to deliver a higher volume of better patient outcomes too, which is a win-win situation for everyone involved.