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By: Stephen O'Connor

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January 29th, 2016

What Patient Feedback Can Reveal About Your Practice

Healthcare Advice | Value-Based Care

Patient FeedbackWouldn’t you like to know as much as possible about what is happening in your medical practice? While you can’t have eyes and ears on everything at all times, you can find out details about the practice simply by asking. Each patient who comes for service is a potential critic who can provide invaluable feedback.

The feedback can come in a variety of ways, including surveys, suggestion boxes and off-hand remarks that patients make to members of your team as they prepare to leave the building. It’s also important for you to remember to monitor your medical practice’s social media pages, since patients may wind up taking to Facebook or Twitter to chime in about their last experience with you.

Read on for details about what patient feedback can reveal about your practice.

Which Patients Love Certain Nurses and Doctors and Why

Your organization is not going to be holding any popularity contests. You can still glean some useful insight when your surveys or reports from patients via social media show which doctors and nurses they absolutely love and which ones they seek to avoid.

The problem could be a personality clash or it could be a sign that the medical professional could stand to improve his or her attitude and approach to patients.

Staff Make Patients Feel Rushed

You might be displeased to hear that patients report being rushed, from the time they approach the check-in desk to the moment they go from the waiting room to be measured on a scale.

Discovering that patients feel rushed may lead you to add additional staff to take up some of the workload.

Office Requires Time-Consuming Paperwork

No one likes to fill out a bunch of papers when they have a medical situation to attend to. Feedback from patients may indicate that one of their chief complaints is the number of times they are obligated to enter the same exact information about themselves in your intake forms.

Feedback like this can lead to you implementing a patient portal with your electronic health records software. Let patients fill out the forms online, only entering each piece of information once.

It’s Difficult to Contact the Doctor or Get Answers

Another common complaint that you might hear during the feedback gathering process is that patients are finding it too hard to get in touch with someone on staff. For example, a parent may be confused about how to administer multiple medications to a sick baby. They wind up on hold for far too long, only to be asked to leave a message and then wait for a response.

Here is another case where a patient portal can help. Patients can use it to sign into their account and then leave questions for doctors and nurses, to be answered much more conveniently. No one has to wait on the phone anymore to communicate

Set Up a Suggestion Box and Use Surveys Regularly

If there’s no suggestion box in the waiting room, see about installing one today and then encourage your patients to fill it with ideas about how to make the practice better. 

You’ll also want to set up some surveys. Keep them short and simple and emphasize that they are designed for anonymous data gathering. Your patients should rest assured that no one will connect their suggestions with their identity, which is essential for getting honest replies.

Soliciting and then acting on feedback from all your patients would be an excellent step toward improving relations and making them feel more welcome. Work with your managers to devise some quick surveys and find out about installing a suggestion box. Savvy medical practice managers will also take pains to monitor what patients are saying on social media, as comments there can be quite illuminating.

Key Takeaway

  • You may discover that patients are biased toward some physicians, nurses and front desk staff over others.
  • Patients can indicate how much they dislike filling out the same information on multiple forms.
  • Implement a patient portal to address concerns patients have about communicating with the staff and getting results in a much more timely fashion.
  • A patient portal will also let your patients cut down on the amount of information they have to provide, as it eliminates redundancy.
  • Make use of targeted surveys periodically to formally solicit feedback from your patients.
  • Adding a suggestion box in waiting room can lead to some unexpected responses from patients that could wind up benefiting the practice.

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About Stephen O'Connor

As a Director of Digital Marketing at Advanced Data Systems Corporation, Stephen spends his day's planning, writing, & designing resources for the modern healthcare professional. He has a strong affinity for snow crab legs, the ocean, and Rutgers Football.

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