Understanding Patient Satisfaction Surveys

It wasn’t that long ago that the patient-provider relationship was fairly one-sided. Providers and health insurance carriers told patients what to do, what medicine they should take, what specialists they should see, and patients would dutifully comply. They wouldn’t ask what any of these things cost because their health insurance company would be footing the bill. Employers chose the insurance carrier and the plan and the premium would be automatically taken out of employees’ paychecks. There would sometimes be copays or deductibles, but those were usually so small that they would not be of great concern to patients.

Over the last two decades, the situation has changed dramatically. Rising healthcare costs have resulted in higher premiums, deductibles, and co-pays. Employers began offering multiple healthcare options – health maintenance organizations (HMOs), preferred provided organizations (PPOs), exclusive provider organizations (EPOs), point-of-service (POS) plans, and high deductible health plans (HDHPs) which could be linked to health savings accounts (HSAs).

The result of this new health insurance landscape? The need for patients to make choices. This new world has transformed patients into consumers. Since they are now paying a greater share of their healthcare costs, they have the right to choose their coverage – and their providers.

This, in turn, changed the provider from someone who told the patient what to do, to someone who had to earn their patients’ business. Patients began paying more attention to what they were being charged and how they were being treated. How would providers know if they were keeping patients happy?

Through the use of patient satisfaction surveys.

What are patient satisfaction surveys?

Patient satisfaction surveys are not much different than other types of consumer surveys. They consist of questions that patients answer to determine how satisfied they are with the service and value they are receiving from their provider. Providers use the results of these surveys to drive quality improvement with the goal of retaining patients in an increasingly competitive healthcare marketplace.

According to a recent poll by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), eight out of ten healthcare organizations conduct patient satisfaction surveys. Of those who do, nearly nine of 10 use the results to measure organizational performance.

Examples of patient satisfaction questions

Question geared to obtaining actionable insights should be short, easy-to-understand and that can elicit objective answers. Examples include:

Patient Access

  • How easy was it to schedule your appointment?
  • How many minutes did you have to wait after your scheduled appointment time?

Quality of care

  • How easy was it to communicate with your provider?
  • How attentive and caring was the staff
  • How attentive was your provider to your concerns?

Patient Engagement

  • Did your provider follow up after your visit?
  • Were you able to receive additional information following your visit?
  • Are you able to connect with your provider via multiple communication channels?

Overall rating

  • How would you rate your recent appointment experience – before, during and after?

Patient Satisfaction Surveys

Hospitals

The Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey is the first national, standardized, publicly reported survey of patients’ opinion of their care in the hospital. The survey has three broad goals:

  • Produce data about patients’ perspectives of care to compare hospitals on topics important to consumers
  • Create incentives for improvement through public reporting
  • Enhance hospitals’ accountability and transparency of quality of care in return for public investment

Physicians

Press Ganey is the industry’s recognized leader in healthcare patient satisfaction. Their survey is used by many practices to gauge how well practices are servicing their patients. Press Ganey works with more than 10,000 health care organizations nationwide including 50% of all U.S. hospitals with the goal of improving clinical and business outcomes.

Press Ganey sends surveys that are grounded in a scientifically rigorous methodology, with a thorough process that reviews existing questions, constructs new questions, tests new surveys, and validates and confirms psychometrics.

Envera Health and patient satisfaction surveys

Envera Health can help drive higher patient satisfaction survey results by working with hospitals and providers to transform the patient experience and simplify the care delivery process. Our complete continuum of patient engagement solutions and unique CRM-driven healthcare call center improves your operational efficiency and enables your steady growth.

One of the most frequent complaints gleaned from patient satisfaction surveys is difficulties in scheduling. The process is often reported as being confusing and stressful because of extended wait times on the phone or inability to cancel an appointment before being charged a fee.

Envera’s Patient Access Solution improves communication between you and your patients. We help optimize your operational efficiency to minimize patient access barriers and support your team by assisting in the management of call volume. Our solution lessens the burden on your current resources and presents a unified “digital front door” for scheduling, call management, pharmacy refills, lab results, and general information.

Our solution simplifies the patient experience and results in higher satisfaction scores. The average patient satisfaction score with a call/agent for providers using our service is 96%+. Appointments booked as a percent of total calls handled is 26%+.

The healthcare industry is committed to improving care outcomes and reducing costs and has adopted the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Triple Aim initiative. The first of the three goals is “Improving the patient experience of care (including quality and satisfaction).” Envera’s Patient Access Solution can help you meet that goal, improve patient satisfaction, and lead to higher patient retention.

Now more than ever patients are speaking out on what they want, and you should be listening. Partnering with Envera can help you satisfy those needs.

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