Getting real feedback to improve operations has always been a challenge for customer-service businesses. Asking patrons to fill out surveys in the form of comment cards, receipt surveys, or online garners response rates as low as 3 to 5 percent. That’s not much of a sample.
In health care, the problem of gathering feedback has taken on heightened importance because of recent reforms. In a previous , we talked about the role patient satisfaction play in evaluating hospitals. With Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements at stake, health care facilities have more incentive to score well on evaluations and need more patient feedback to make improvements.
The first HCAHPS survey results were released in April, and already we see organizations struggling to gather feedback. The results show an average response rate of around 30 percent. Overall, the national hospital rating was 70 percent, barely passing if you think of it on a grading scale. That leaves plenty of room for improvement – if only hospitals had the feedback they need to make changes.
Health care facilities must ask themselves:
- How they can improve the response rate for surveys?
- How effective are current survey methods?
- Are they requesting surveys at the right time?
- Is there a better way?
How Health Care Organizations Conduct Surveys
The government requires health clinics and hospitals to submit at least 300 completed surveys within a 12-month period. According to the Press Ganey website, surveys may be administered in paper form, by phone, a combination of both, or by Active Interactive Voice Response, or robocalls. Surveys must also be administered between 48 hours and six weeks after a patient has been discharged.
By the look of the results, those old methods aren’t working. Health care facilities need help driving up the response rate and would do well to take a page from the hospitality industry.
More restaurants, hotels and other hospitality-oriented businesses are using tablet-based survey tools to get immediate feedback while customers are in the midst of the experience. For example, customers can be handed a tablet at the end of a meal or spa session and asked for their opinions while experience is fresh in their minds.
The response rate for tablet-based surveys has been observed at up to 80 percent, helping businesses quickly identify trends across locations and businesses and pinpoint opportunities to improve service that they wouldn’t recognize.
Health Care Organizations Can Do the Same
Health care facilities can do the same by offering tablet-based surveys at the end of the patient experience. In addition to higher response rates, hospitals would get the benefit of more accurate and representative feedback, and they’d be less captive to outlier experiences.
They’d also get the feedback faster than with older survey methods, giving them more time to incorporate needed changes.
While one priority in collecting surveys is to fulfill the HCAHPS requirements, clinics and health care facilities also have an opportunity to fulfill their highest goal and obligation – to superior patient care.
By adopting a survey tool patients are more likely to use – and which makes it easier for staff to administer and collect results – health care providers increase their chances of doing that.
Find Out More About Gathering Customer Feedback
Complete the form below to download the free eBook, The Power of Instant Customer Feedback, for more detail about why it matters what customers think about you.
Mai Lyn Ngo is a marketing coordinator at LRS and ambassador for solutions that create a better guest experience.