How Patient Satisfaction Surveys Improve Your Online Reputation

Post-visit patient satisfaction surveys are becoming common practice for healthcare providers for several reasons, but most notably to help improve online reputation.

While it can be difficult to measure how much your patients enjoyed or disliked their experience with your practice, using surveys written specifically about your practice and for your patients can provide you with both qualitative and quantitative data which can be used to tangibly improve your practice and online reputation.

What is a Patient Satisfaction Survey?

A patient satisfaction survey is a system of questions about a patient’s experience with your medical practice. Since patient satisfaction is not always observable, using a survey system will be imperative in improving your patient care according to your patients’ feedback.

Why Should You Conduct Patient Satisfaction Surveys?

Here are the top reasons as to why you should conduct patient satisfaction surveys:

1. Find Out How Patients Really Feel: Patients are not always vocal when it comes to letting doctors or staff know how their appointment went. By implementing patient satisfaction surveys into your workflow, you can better understand how your patients felt about their appointments.

2. Improve Your Practice: By gauging your patients’ satisfaction with surveys, you gain insight into your practice’s strengths and weaknesses. You can use this feedback to strengthen your practice so that future patients have an improved experience and rate your practice higher.

3. Gain More Online Reviews: Healthcare providers’ unmanaged online reputation tends to be inaccurate due to a few unhappy patients that leave reviews. By implementing satisfaction surveys, dissatisfied patients are given the opportunity to vent their frustrations directly with the practice and satisfied patients can be asked to leave online reviews, thus creating a more accurate online reputation.

What are the Best Questions to Ask on a Patient Satisfaction Survey?

When creating your patient satisfaction survey, we recommend utilizing a 5-point ‘Likert’ scale as this allows the patient to answer with specificity while keeping the survey fast and easy to answer.

As every practice is different, survey questions will vary depending on each practice’s needs. However, here are a few common examples of a 5-point “Likert” scale question to gauge patient satisfaction:

1. How easy did you find the appointment booking experience?

  • Very difficult
  • Difficult
  • Neutral
  • Easy
  • Very easy

2. What was your wait time before seeing the doctor/specialist?

  • Over 40 minutes
  • 30-40 minutes
  • 20-30 minutes
  • 10-20 minutes
  • 0-10 minutes

3. Overall, how satisfied were you with your entire experience with us today?

  • Very dissatisfied
  • Dissatisfied
  • Neutral
  • Somewhat satisfied
  • Very satisfied

It is also important to add at least one open-ended question as it gives patients a chance to write out their own replies, which can give more detailed insight. See below for a few examples:

  1. What are things you feel we can improve upon?
  2. Was there anything about your visit that you particularly liked/disliked? Why?
  3. Is there anything else you would like to add about your visit with us?

If you’re having trouble with coming up with the best survey questions to ask your patients, check out the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) as they also have a list of survey questions for providers, hospitals, and medical organizations.

Tips for Creating an Effective Patient Satisfaction Survey

Besides asking the right questions and using the Likert scale, a few other things need to be considered while drafting the survey to ensure better outcomes. Here are a few tips to help you design effective patient satisfaction surveys:

1. Determine Your End Goals

Before drafting the survey, determine what you will do with the response collected. This will help you frame the right questions to line up with the planned outcome. While general surveys are useful, surveys focusing on a specific problem area can help proactively identify and resolve common patient-related concerns.

2. Keep It Short and Simple

Ideally, the survey shouldn't take more than 15-20 minutes to complete. Try to use more close-ended questions (likert or multiple choice) as they are less time-consuming than open-ended ones. However, you can add 1 or 2 free-response questions towards the end for detailed insight on patient experience.

3. Utilize CG-CAHPS Survey

As the industry standard for measuring patient satisfaction, the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) survey is available in multiple versions for different healthcare providers. The CG-CAHPS survey focuses on key areas such as the patients' confidence in the provider, coordination of care, provider's concern for patients' worries, listening skills and friendliness of the provider.

4. Employ Different Methods to Distribute the Survey

From text and email to paper forms, there are various ways to distribute surveys to patients. However, there is no one-fits-all method as several factors, including your patient's age, personal preference, and internet access, will affect how they take the survey.

5. Share Your Progress Based on the Results

Work to improve your practice with the feedback collected, and share your progress with your patients to let them know what actions were taken to ensure greater patient satisfaction. Knowing that their response matters will create a positive brand image for your practice while encouraging more feedback in the future.

Patient satisfaction surveys are a strong tool in learning more about what your patients need from your practice and making meaningful changes to address their feedback.

Utilizing an online reputation management service, like RepuGen, that offers patient satisfaction insight services as well as other useful online reputation tools, can help to seamlessly boost your practice’s success