Patient satisfaction continues to be a key focus in the healthcare industry. As discussed in a previous blog, it refers to whether patients’ expectations of their medical care are met and their contentment with their healthcare provider(s). Although any number of scales and surveys can measure patient satisfaction, one of the most commonly used is the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) Survey.

In today’s bustling, technology-driven world, though, less can be more. In this blog, we’re uncovering six ways patient feedback is essential, why a minimal feedback approach is critical for maximizing results and the one question that increases patient satisfaction.

Why Patient Feedback is Important

Patient feedback provides unmatched insight into what patients think of their experience. It’s also a gateway for providers to connect with advocating patients and repairing retractors. Examining feedback and continuing the conversation allows providers to see care quality for what works well or needs further improvement. 

Patient feedback gives valuable insight for:

  • Improving patient satisfaction
  • Enabling better service recovery activities
  • Identifying service gaps
  • Improving social media ratings
  • Increasing revenue
  • Preventing patient complaints from becoming grievances 

In addition, patient satisfaction directly relates to retention, engagement and outreach. Patients who are satisfied tend to continue to seek care from their providers. They engage with recommended treatment plans, medication regimens and follow-up care. They also reach out to their community through word-of-mouth, third-party reviews and social media. Patient feedback is essential for providers to keep top of mind.

Connecting With Patients Through Text Messaging

According to the latest American Community Survey Reports, smartphone ownership has surpassed all other computing devices, including tablets, laptops and desktop computers.

Line Graph: Percentage of Households With Computer and Internet Use: 1984 to 2018

With all those devices, it’s not surprising that Market Research Firm Dynata found that Americans pick up their cell phone every two minutes and 43 seconds. Moreover, they handle their phones an astounding 2,464 times in any given week. 

Along with using smartphones for banking, leisure and work, patients use their phones to share their health journeys and connect with their providers. Nine out of ten patients in the United States prefer to communicate with their loved one’s providers and care team via text. In addition, eighty-seven million U.S. adults use health and fitness apps to track and improve their well-being. 

Even in the social realm, patients invest time in sharing their health journey. For example, one recent study found that U.S. women spend 88 minutes each week styling, shooting and editing a fitness pic for Instagram. Similarly, a recent study from the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that patients reporting low health literacy were more than twice as likely than those with adequate health literacy to use TikTok and YouTube to seek pandemic health information.  

By utilizing the most widely used technology for patient satisfaction surveys, providers set themselves up for success. They’re engaging with the patient perspective in mind and meeting them where they are. 

Using a Less-is-More Approach for Feedback Surveys

There’s a fine line between a survey sent on time or too late, one that has the correct number of questions or is too long or one that has questions that are vague or hard to understand. For example, Google “patient engagement survey questions to ask,” and 268 million articles populate. Patient engagement iss top of mind for many healthcare providers, but finding the right balance for successful feedback can be perplexing.

How Multiple Questions Can Lead to Overwhelm and Non-Engagement 

Attention span is an ever-present challenge for a world getting more connected each passing year. A study from Microsoft Corporation found that Americans are losing concentration after only eight seconds, compared to 12 seconds a mere five years earlier. Add to the mix that patients are receiving requests for feedback surveys left and right, and the sheer number of requests and survey length is leading to survey fatigue. 

Picture this: You’re sipping on a hot cup of coffee and scrolling through your inbox during your lunch break. You receive an email for a feedback survey and think, “Sure! I’ve got an extra five minutes.” You tap the survey link and start answering questions. A few pages in, you realize two things. One, you have no progress bar, so you have no idea how many more questions remain. Two, the questions are getting more and more complex. Ten minutes later, you’ve got a cold cup of coffee and no idea when this survey will end. With your lunch break nearing an end, you close out the survey without completing it. 

This happens all too often. While feedback from surveys contains valuable information for providers, it’s also a two-way communication. Patients are busy juggling work tasks, bringing kids to soccer practice, scheduling follow-up visits with their providers, studying for work certifications at night and dealing with everything in between. Providers need to be conscientious of their patients’ time with feedback surveys that honor their patients’ timespan while still gaining valuable feedback.

Avoiding the Dropoff: How One Question Can Increase Patient Satisfaction

NPS Patient Satisfaction Scale with Providertech Text Messaging Example

On the flip side, asking patients fewer questions can lead to more engagement. Across the board, dropoff rates for respondents start after only one question. When increasing from three to four questions, an additional 18 percent drop off. For those teetering on 15 questions or more, another 23 percent drop off.

What’s the One Question You Should Be Asking? 

How satisfied are you? By leading with this question sent directly as a text message with a 1-10 scale option, providers can gain valuable feedback with a low threshold for patients. Depending on their feedback, providers can then continue the conversation for promoters and detractors. 

For those with a Net Promoter Score or NPS of 1-6, providers can reach out directly and work with patients to gain feedback on what went wrong and improve things before they reach out to their network of family and friends. For patients with an NPS of 9-10, providers can share a link for patients to share feedback on Health Grades, Google Maps, Yelp or another review site.

Learn More About CareRetention

Providertech offers a fully customizable solution that works for medium to large healthcare organizations. CareRetention is an automated platform that helps care providers collect and respond to care-centered feedback in real-time. This allows patients to be heard and your organization to measure patient satisfaction. And with technology focused on utilizing essential components for successful engagement, including survey question best practices and a progress bar built-in, Providertech is committed to making your patient experience better.

With CareRetention, you can:

  • Easily promote your practice
  • Take action with feedback analysis tools
  • Streamline service and recovery
  • Minimize negative reviews
  • Elevate your reputation

Schedule a demo of CareRetention to see how to enhance your patients’ satisfaction.