Patient Feedback: Understanding Its Value and How To Increase ItPosted: January 19, 2023 - By Health Dev
Feedback is an excellent way to estimate customer satisfaction and evaluate all issues that demand attention. This is true for all businesses, including your medical practice.
Over the years, increased insurance premiums, healthcare costs, and out-of-pocket medical expenses have persuaded patients to look for more value for their money. If a facility fails to satisfy its customers’ needs, they don’t think twice before shifting from one health provider to another.
This is why taking patient feedback has become more than necessary. A well-designed communication with patients helps healthcare providers reduce gaps in care and improve the quality of their services. It also drives revenue through increased engagement.
Below we take an in-depth glance into the importance of patient feedback and how to increase it.
What Makes Patient Feedback Important?
If you go a few years back, the concept of taking patient feedback was only considered a waste of time. Most healthcare providers failed to understand how good or bad feedback could affect their performance.
Today in this competitive world, the story is pretty different. These days medical practices accept the importance of communication with patients.
Both positive and negative feedback helps these practices curate services and programs that can decrease some common concerns. Besides, patient experience feedback develops a strong relationship between doctors and patients, initiating better health outcomes.
Below, we discuss these pointers in detail.
Aids in Improving Patient Experience
There is no better way to evaluate and improve patient experiences than by asking the patients themselves.
Unfortunately, many patients only share their views once asked to give their feedback. Their feedback can change how you manage your services for your customers. This is why such communication is vital.
Patient feedback can also help you cater to dissatisfied visitors. An evaluation of individual reviews may help you identify minor and major issues. As a result, you can prepare strategies to remove them.
Further, good patient experiences are those where your customers feel important. Regular follow-ups and responses make patients consider themselves unique. This makes your services worth every buck spent.
Feedback also helps you create customized patient experiences. For example, you can design an individual patient care plan for every visitor and meet their needs according to their health condition.
Supports Patient-Centered Care
Taking the last point further, when patients visit your medical facility, they expect you to look after them with care and attention. For them, your time and support can have a massive impact on their experience.
Patient feedback is an excellent way to design patient-centered care plans. For instance, when a patient shares a review that covers things they liked or disliked, you get an idea about your strengths and weaknesses. Moreover, you also get to know the kind of facilities and support that person demands.
This information is vital to help you create customized care programs for individuals who prefer your medical facility over others. Patient-centered care satisfies the patients and gives them the confidence to revisit your medical practice.
Helps You Stand Out in Comparison to Competitors
In today’s competitive world, if you want your service to stand out, you need to know what your patients exactly want. And this is only possible through their feedback.
Suppose most of your patients prefer an online booking facility, but you fail to offer them because you are unaware of their needs. In that case, they may look out for other practices that do.
If you have your patient’s feedback, you can work on this demand, welcoming patients to book appointments online and making them feel heard. This can help you retain your customers and eventually beat the competition with time.
Strengthens Doctor and Patient Relationships
Patient feedback tools help build and strengthen the relationship between doctors and their patients. The patients that visit your medical facility may find you rude, but you might never know that without their review of your services.
Besides, there are many things that feedback can help you understand and improvise. For instance, for a strong doctor and patient relationship, sympathy and empathy are crucial.
Moreover, patients like health providers who listen to them carefully without rushing to a conclusion. If you lack all these qualities, you may fail to create good patient experiences.
Positive reviews are always motivating. On the other hand, negative feedback sometimes helps improve your performance and encourages you to work hard to build a solid relationship.
Besides, when you directly ask a patient to share their views on an appointment, patients may share raw and informal feedback for the betterment of your practice.
Shows Where Patient Safety Is Lacking
If you want your medical practice to succeed, you need to create a secure environment for your patients. Your patients should consider your healthcare setting a safe place to share their personal information and get treated.
There are many different ways to establish patient safety. For instance, with the help of monitoring technology, physicians and nurses can verify the correct procedure for the right visitors. Similarly, a robust online system allows patients to share their personal data without the fear of hackers or cybercrime.
To design such a setup for your patients, it is imperative to know the areas of improvement and the loopholes in your system. Patient feedback is an excellent way to evaluate just that and curate plans to improve overall safety procedures.
Improves Patient Retention Rates
Your patient retention rate may increase if you successfully make positive organizational changes after collecting patient feedback.
Patients with good experiences may stick with you, which can help increase your patient retention rate. Besides, acquiring patients is often more expensive than keeping the existing ones.
Asking your patients questions through a feedback survey can help you understand their needs and the services you lack. This information helps you design a customized care plan for your returning patients, encouraging them to stay with you for a long time.
How To Increase Patient Feedback
There are many ways in which patient feedback can help you retain your existing customers and attract new ones. However, getting these online reviews isn’t as smooth as it seems.
Most people get awkward and consider your service intrusive when asked to share their feedback. This is very common and may make the entire task daunting. So how to get patient feedback without sounding creepy?
Start With Loyal or Recurring Patients
It is always wise to start taking feedback from patients loyal to you. They are the best people to know what makes them stay and what factors might compel them to leave.
In addition, recurring patients are aware of your staff and the culture of your medical practice. This makes it easy for them to answer your feedback surveys without questioning the safety of the data shared.
The recurring patients are your perfect audience to evaluate customer care experiences and design plans to overcome any issues. Besides, the chances of your loyal patients being honest in their feedback are also high. This, again, is helpful to help you proceed in the right direction.
Utilize Surveys To Capture Feedback From Patients
Patient surveys are one of the most convenient and successful ways to capture feedback. They highlight insights and help you find ways to improve your overall patient care experiences. Besides, people find filling out these surveys easier than asking about their experiences face-to-face.
Many types of patient surveys can benefit your medical practice.
- Patient Satisfaction surveys help healthcare providers measure the satisfaction levels of their customers and then find ways to enhance their experiences.
- Inpatient surveys help capture the insights of your patients who may have stayed in your facility overnight. The survey usually focuses on areas such as the admission process and the professionalism of the staff.
- Outpatient surveys collect information related to the physician and the care that they may have provided.
- Gaps in care surveys help patients take all the preventive measures and maintain their health.
- Finally, considered as most flexible, the remote health monitoring surveys are for high-risk patients. They capture all the health metrics and sometimes cover patients’ feedback on their ongoing treatment.
Provide Incentives For Reviews
If your patients are stubborn when sharing their feedback, use incentives. An incentive on every negative or positive review may encourage patients to take a few minutes from their routine and complete the survey.
There are many different types of incentives that you can introduce. For instance, you can offer 10% off on all the services at your practice for feedback shared on the patient’s previous experience.
You can also book them a free online appointment with their doctor on the patient’s preferred date and time. You can also offer the visitors freebies on their next visit to motivate them to share their views after every appointment.
Use Multiple Channels To Capture More Patient Feedback
Instead of asking your patients to fill out a survey sent through mail or messages only, use various channels to capture as much feedback as you want. For instance, if your facility has an official website, you can embed your survey link and share it with your patients.
WhatsApp is another primary medium of communication. Sharing your patient satisfaction survey on this channel can increase engagement and build a strong relationship with your recurring and new patients.
Many healthcare providers also use QR codes for this purpose. You can print these codes on your patient’s bill so they land on the survey page after scanning. The key here is to choose an accessible spot for these codes so your patients can share their feedback timely and effortlessly.
Having different channels of communication helps capture a good amount of feedback in a short time. Besides, it also builds and manages your online reputation, enhances engagement, and can be cost-effective.
Analyze Patient Feedback To Apply it Effectively
After you have received all the relevant feedback, it is crucial to analyze it properly. Evaluate the areas you lack in or require improvements before implementing the new changes.
When the patients see their feedback taken seriously, they no longer hesitate to share their views in the following appointments. This eventually increases the feedback rate, which helps you improve your services with time.
Incorporate a Patient Feedback Software Application
A patient feedback software application can change how you conduct your surveys. It is a productive and efficient way to get systematic reviews on your services and then use analytics to set practical and better procedures.
Well-designed software has all the right patient feedback tools and features for excellent outcomes. Some features that you should always consider in your chosen software are:
- An ability to collect data from different channels of communication
- Should create multilingual surveys for patients from different backgrounds and languages
- Must be able to design customized surveys
- Should send surveys automatically where required
- Provide all the required feedback and reviews in real-time
It is imperative to select software that is easy to implement and maintain. Besides, your staff should also have the required training to benefit from the full potential of this system.
How Software Can Help You Analyze Feedback
Patient feedback can help your medical practice beat the competition and satisfy your customers. It can also help retain recurring patients and attract new ones to generate revenue. But for all that to happen, you should analyze and apply it correctly.
Perfectly implemented software has all the tools to create helpful and customized surveys, collect systematic reviews, and support your staff in planning efficient strategies. It can also communicate feedback through different channels and reduce your staff’s efforts in obtaining analytics.