April 5, 2022

How to Use Patient Satisfaction Survey Data

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Do you know what your patients want from their medical experience? Patient satisfaction surveys can give you insights into what your patients do and don’t like about your current practices, and how you can improve them for better retention.

The patient churn rate in the United States is currently sitting at about 48% — meaning you’re likely to lose about one out of every two patients. Without effectively using patient satisfaction data, those numbers could be even higher.

Reduce the Number of No-Shows

Patients demand an easy way to schedule, change, and cancel their appointments. If your practice currently relies solely on phone calls for scheduling purposes, your patients are quickly going to get frustrated by long hold times and the inability to reach someone. If they can’t make an appointment, they’re more likely to just not show up than attempt to reschedule or cancel.

On average, doctors are losing approximately $200 with each missed appointment. Those numbers can add up quickly, costing physicians over $10,000 per year with only one no-show per week. However, it’s likely that the numbers will be much higher without implementing easier methods of communication.

Use patient satisfaction survey data to determine how patients want to be able to schedule appointments. Do they want to do so on the patient portal? Maybe they just want the ability to text or email. Patients will be much more likely to communicate with their providers if their preferred communication channel is available.

Also read: 6 Tips for Increasing Engagement with Every Patient

Improve Check-In Procedures

On average, how long does it take your patients to check in once they get to your office? The number likely varies depending on how many people are trying to check in at once and how many front desk staff you have. Slow or inefficient check-in procedures can also frustrate patients, contributing to your customer churn.

Give patients the option to check in online before they get to your office. This will help reduce the time they have to sit in the waiting room around other sick patients, and give doctors more time to look over patient information before speaking with them. And if you already offer online check-in, make check-in procedures a part of your post-visit survey, so you can see where you could improve.

Reduce Wait Times

Your patients don’t want to sit in a waiting room for two hours just to see a doctor for five minutes. If that’s their current experience, they’re probably actively looking for other doctors. Wait times can’t be completely cut out, of course, but they can be shortened with better scheduling and check-in procedures.

You may not know if your wait times are contributing to your customer churn without relevant data from patients. Your post-visit surveys should include a question about how long your patient waited until they were called back. You may also be able to cross-reference their check-in times with the times you entered notes on their chart.

Additionally, you may find that your patients want telehealth options, especially if they’re contagious or can’t get a ride to the doctor’s office. This will also reduce wait times because you’ll have fewer people in your actual office.

Increase Engagement With the Patient Portal

Your electronic health records system likely includes a patient portal or integrates with your current one. If it doesn’t, you need to ensure your patients can access their medical records and provider notes from your patient portal. But if you’re finding that engagement with your patient portal isn’t as high as you’d like, you may need patient survey data to find out why.

Your patients may want a messaging feature within the patient portal, so they can ask their provider questions that shouldn’t require a full visit. Maybe they just want the ability to change or schedule appointments through the portal.

Within your patient surveys, you should include questions about features that your patients want to see from the patient portal. If several of your patients want a feature that isn’t currently available, you risk increasing your customer churn if you don’t add it.

Also read: Optimizing Your Patient Portal for Maximum Engagement

Higher Patient Satisfaction Leads to Better Retention

When patients feel like their needs are met, they’re more likely to stay with the same healthcare provider. What’s more, satisfied patients give better referrals, leading to more incoming patients. Patient survey data is the best way to identify patient satisfaction levels and find out what you need to do to improve your practice.

To improve your billing, scheduling, and patient engagement procedures and reduce customer churn, check out our Practice Management Product Selection Tool. After answering a few short questions about your practice, you’ll get a free, customized list of practice management software recommendations.

Read next: Healthcare Trends Private Practices Need to Watch

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