How Patient Feedback Can Help Drive Improvement

Philip Cleave
July 20, 2016

Let’s not beat around the bush; gathering patient feedback is an essential element of continuous improvement! From GP practices to the emergency department at hospitals; from dental practices to maternity teams; all health care providers have a responsibility to listen and respond based on patient experiences. Here we delve deeper into the importance of patient feedback and how it can help you make essential changes…

Research programmes can systematically gather first-hand feedback on how a service is performing, empowering organisations of all sizes to make insightful decisions, rather than just guessing. Patient feedback questionnaires can provide you with information about how happy your patients are throughout their entire journey – factors that can influence satisfaction may include;

  • How easy it was to book an appointment
  • The comfort and cleanliness of the waiting area
  • Whether or not their appointment was on time or if patients were kept waiting
  • How receptive the doctors and nurses were with regard to patient needs

Feedback from colleagues and suppliers will also help healthcare professionals reflect on progress and review service provision. Understanding an entire audience helps organisations reflect on how they work, and identify ways they can modify and improve their practice.

Why gather patient feedback at all?

Patient experience feedback can be collected both internally and externally. Activity can be taken to get insight from an internal audience at regular intervals and following significant changes. External feedback can be pro-actively sought from anonymous sources via patient satisfaction surveys. All data collected can then be used to review processes and make important changes.

The ability to gather immediate reaction provides clearer, more candid feedback. The impulsive, first-hand nature of instant feedback can mean you receive a more honest and direct response. This is definitely the case if the patient wants to leave positive or negative feedback, following a good or bad experience. Offering patients the ability to share their thoughts instantly can provide rich, qualitative information that can be extremely beneficial to your organisation.

Benefits of Patient Experience Surveys

Show your patients that you care by listening to what they have to say. Demonstrate a commitment to them by learning about their experiences and understanding how they feel about the service they received. Patient experience surveys provide the opportunity to gain a clear insight into any trends or patterns that develop. Healthcare surveys create an opportunity to understand how treatment is working and the effect it is having on the patient’s life, work and general wellbeing.

4 Benefits of Patient Feedback Surveys:

  1. Allows you to gather large amounts of data quickly, securely and confidentially
  2. Lets you identify areas of healthcare experiences that require attention
  3. Permits you to collect patients feedback anonymously with fully compliant security systems
  4. Allows for analysis of qualitative and quantitative data for deeper assessment

Conduct a Friends and Family Test

How likely is it that your patients will recommend your services to friends and family? A short survey, that meets the requirements of NHS England, is used by organisations throughout the country to drive improvements. You can prove you are listening to your patients by using the Friends and Family Test. The surveys are quick and easy to set up and work well when set alongside patient feedback questionnaires. Our expert support team can help you set one up in a few easy steps.

Ensure consistency

Health services provide care to millions of people every day. To ensure that all patient feedback gathered is subject to the same conditions and all patients have an equal opportunity to respond, they must be provided with adequate ways to provide comments. By offering multiple channels, such as online questionnaires or mobile friendly surveys delivered by SMS, the reach of the feedback will increase. Multi-language support is also key, allowing for the same survey to be taken by multiple respondents in many different languages.

Build trust

Demonstrating a willingness to listen and act upon feedback shows your patients that you care and trust their views which, in turn, provides them with a reason to trust you. These better channels of communication create a healthier relationship between all parties involved in treatment and care, making, what can be, a stressful process less worrying. Giving patients the chance to respond to comments, ask questions and offer feedback about their experiences in a secure, anonymous environment demonstrate how much an organisation values their patients and truly cares about them.

SmartSurvey offers a complete Patient Feedback solution as well as support and guidance to set up a Friends and Family Test. For more information, you can book a personalised online demonstration by contacting us today.

SmartSurvey Timesaver Tip of the Month

When a respondent clicks on the answer ‘None of the Above’ in a Multiple Choice question, all ticks in other boxes will automatically be removed! You don’t need to do a thing to safe guard the accuracy of your results if your respondent has a last-minute change of mind!


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