Patient feedback plays an integral role in healthcare organization’s quality improvement efforts. During a typical 3 to 4 day stay in a large hospital, a patient may interact with up to 50-60 employees. (1) In order to maintain high quality outcomes and avoid missed revenue opportunities, it’s important for organizations to ensure that a patient’s interactions with their healthcare system are as positive as possible.
In the U.S., it is estimated that the loss of a patient due to dissatisfaction can result in the average loss of over $200,000 in income. (2)
As reimbursements become increasingly tied to quality outcomes, improving the patient experience is more important than ever—and it all starts with clear patient feedback. Organizations can gather patient feedback in a variety of ways, including surveys, audits, comments, and complaints. Staff who work directly with patients can also offer useful perspectives on patient experience. (3) Gathering comprehensive patient feedback helps organizations celebrate and recognize what is going well, while addressing areas for improvement.
When looking to improve the patient feedback process, there are several key strategies that healthcare organizations should keep in mind.
1. Make it simple for patients to give feedback.
In order to gather comprehensive, clear patient feedback, the process for patients to report their experience should be as straightforward as possible. When implementing a patient feedback system, it’s important to keep in mind factors like language barriers, user reading levels, and device compatibility. (3)
2.Ensure that the feedback process is flexible and accessible.
Even carefully thought-out feedback forms can easily get lost in a patient’s email inbox. That’s why it’s important to consider various methods to interact with patients and get feedback, besides simply sending an email. For example, a patient could fill out a feedback form on a tablet or desktop device before they leave the facility.
Feedback can come in many forms, including staff reporting. Organizations should encourage staff to report patient experiences that are shared with them through the use of a reporting software. (3) With PHP’s reporting software, organizations can make reporting links readily accessible on the intranet page.
3. Analyze feedback to turn it into action.
The patient feedback process doesn’t stop after information has been gathered. The most critical step of the patient feedback process is to use the information gathered to drive quick responses and service recovery. A patient relations software solution with dashboards and drill-through analytics makes it easy to analyze patient feedback and create follow-up action plans. Additionally, healthcare organizations can close the accountability loop by publicizing the changes that have been made as a result of patient feedback. (4) This is also a significant way to show patients that their feedback is being heard and valued.
Developing an effective process for patient feedback can take time, but it goes a long way in improving the overall patient experience. By making it simple for patients to give feedback, ensuring that the feedback process is flexible and accessible, and analyzing feedback to turn it into action, healthcare organizations of all sectors can enhance their patient experience and improve quality outcomes over time.
- Hein EC. 5th ed. Philadelphia, New York: Lippincott; 1998. Contemporary Leadership Behaviour, Selected Readings.
- Luecke RW, Rosselli VR, Moss JM. The economic ramifications of “client” dissatisfaction. Group Pract J. 1991:8–18.