The need for reputation management is steadily growing as consumers head online to read and write reviews on patient experiences. As healthcare organizations look at different ways to improve patient care, it is vitally important for them to understand both patient experience and employee engagement. Enter digital patient surveys.
We recently spoke with Kait Phillips and Aksana Koch from Binary Fountain’s customer success team, who’ve been guiding clients through implementing and managing our reputation management solution, Binary Health Analytics. Here, they share their best practices for healthcare organizations adopting digital patient surveys as part of their reputation management strategy.
Hi Kait and Aksana. With so many online reviews and ratings available, could you please give us a little insight into why healthcare practices use surveys?
Kait: Surveys can give practices a different perspective. They offer more control with the kind of feedback you’re seeking from patients. Structured questions can evaluate specific patient experience criteria, like physician communications. You can also get feedback from open-ended questions, which can reveal valuable information.
Do you find that clients are using surveys at all? To what extent? What successes are you seeing happen and why?
Kait: Yes, clients are using surveys a lot and they’re really happy with the volume of feedback they’re getting. By asking patients for their feedback after a visit, practices often receive many more surveys than online reviews. They are also very successful at getting responses, typically with a 15-20% response rate.
Fairfax Radiology Consultants (FRC), for instance, has seen very positive results with surveys to help improve reputation and patient experience at their 17 outpatient imaging facilities. They are very focused on improving wait times, so they customize their surveys related to that issue. By doing so, they’ve achieved a 24% response rate, receiving 3,200 surveys per month. They use the insights gathered as part of their effort to achieve patient experience excellence.
Aksana: We’ve also seen great success when there is a raffle as part of an email campaign. New survey responders are entered monthly. This often increases response rates considerably.
What best practices can you share on surveys and email campaigns?
Kait: The most popular way to get surveys to patients is through email campaigns. Another option is to use a tablet or desktop computer at the front desk to offer point-of-care surveys to patients in the office.
Email surveys are sent at varying times, from daily to weekly. If we integrate with the client’s system, emails can be sent out daily, which is ideal because it usually increases the response rate, helping the practice consistently receive a sizeable amount of feedback.
Aksana: It’s also best practice to keep responses on the shorter side and focused on particular areas of concern. Our clients typically receive more responses if the survey doesn’t take too much time to complete.
We always recommend including unstructured comment sections in your surveys. While structured questions allow you to know if the patient had a good or bad experience, you won’t really know the reasoning behind their feedback and this can make all the difference in improving your organization’s reputation.
Are there any survey best practices for the organization itself?
Kait: Once patient surveys are in the system, it’s best to share the data at each staff meeting and focus on the positive feedback. Certainly mention any general areas of concern, but if there is negative feedback pertaining to a particular staff member, be sure to speak with them one-on-one in a private area.
Aksana: Staff engagement can certainly affect the patient experience. Many of our clients like to integrate monthly or quarterly awards for employees who receive the most positive feedback, such as a team lunch. This motivates staff to grasp the importance of the patient experience, the importance of following the best practices of their organization and emailing surveys to patients on a regular basis.
In terms of the tablet surveys, staff members need to make it a part of a structured, daily process to encourage patients to fill out a survey at the end of their visit.
What are the benefits of surveys through email campaigns and tablets?
Kait: Patients are more likely to fill out the open-ended feedback questions in email campaigns than when using tablet surveys in the office. We’ve seen several organizations post positive comments from those open-ended questions onto their physician pages as well.
Aksana: The benefit of the tablet survey method is the ability to focus on immediate service recovery. This allows you to receive patient responses before they have even left the practice. Alerts are sent to the practice administrator as soon as the survey is completed and if someone has had a negative experience, they can work to correct it right away and turn a negative experience into a positive one. With email surveys, you still can perform timely service recovery – particularly if you’re doing them daily. It just won’t be immediate.
What are promoter campaigns? How do they tie into surveys?
Kait: Promoter campaigns are great for organizations that really want to increase their online presence. They allow practices to send an email to patients with a one-question survey to rate their visit on a 10-point scale. If they rate their experience between a 9 or 10, they will be prompted to post an online review, typically on a third-party rating and review site. However, if they choose between a 0 or 8, they will be directed to additional survey questions so that the practice can receive more feedback to better understand what needs improvement.
How does Binary Fountain’s Natural Language Processing engine (NLP) help to organize all of the feedback clients receive?
Kait: The NLP will analyze any of the unstructured comments on surveys. It will break them down into different insights and assign the category and sentiment. Both negative and positive feedback is analyzed to help discover the practices’ strengths and weaknesses.
Finally, what pitfalls should organizations be sure to avoid when implementing digital surveys?
Kait: Having surveys with too many questions is a common pitfall we’ve seen. Surveys need to be concise, and not overly time-consuming in order to receive the greatest amount of feedback. Not uploading surveys regularly is another pitfall. They should be uploaded every week if not more frequently.
When using tablets, be sure the front desk staff members are asking patients to fill out your surveys. If they neglect to do this, you’re not very likely to get much feedback.
Aksana: In addition, within the Binary Fountain system, you can exclude certain patients from receiving repeat emails and preventing survey exhaustion for patients who frequently visit your practice.
No matter your distribution choice, digital surveys help organizations identify areas for improvement, can increase employee engagement and discover ways to enhance the patient experience.
Binary Fountain’s Binary Health Analytics platform makes your patient feedback powerful. By identifying patient insights from online reviews and surveys, organizations can uncover actionable insights unlocking the keys to productivity and performance and ultimately impacting patient experience.
If you have any questions for Kait and Aksana, please send them to [email protected].
About the Author
Brian helps healthcare organizations better understand their healthcare consumer challenges and needs, in order to efficiently manage and improve patient satisfaction.