Are You Asking the Top 5 Patient Satisfaction Survey Questions?

By Practice Growth February 21, 2020

Your patient satisfaction survey should cover every aspect of the patient’s appointment, which starts as soon as they complete the booking. You’ll welcome many different types of patients to your practice, but most of them will assign importance to the same things. Here are five questions you should be asking your patients:

1.   How easy was it to book an appointment at our practice?

The appointment setting process is a patient’s first impression of your practice. If a patient struggles to book an appointment, that can cast a shadow over their whole experience. The appointment setting process should be quick, clear, and easy. Your patients shouldn’t have to call your practice more than once (during working hours) to book an appointment. Some patients prefer to book appointments online. A reliable, functional online booking system can really set you apart from other practices that offer comparable services. If a prospective patient is researching local practices and your practice has a “book now” button on your website, it’s likely they’ll skip the phone call and schedule an appointment right away.

2.   Were the staff members you encountered friendly and helpful?

Your practice staff should make each guest feel welcomed and attended to from the moment they walk in the door. Receptionists should make eye contact and greet each patient. Each member of your team should give each patient their undivided attention. Cell phone use should be restricted to out-of-sight areas. TIP: People love hearing their name, and it makes them feel important and well-cared-for. Look for opportunities to use a patient’s name at each step during their appointment.

3.   How long did you wait (beyond your scheduled appointment time) to see a provider?

Letting a patient sit in the waiting room for an extensive period of time is a sure way to put them in a bad mood. Your patients want to know that you value their time. A successful practice will do everything possible to keep things flowing smoothly.

Of course, your practice’s daily operation is unpredictable, and the practice is going to fall behind sometimes. In those cases, have a team member check-in with the waiting patient(s); they should apologize for the wait, explain that something unexpected came up, and offer refreshments (like water, or a good quality, organic tea).

If falling behind isn’t unusual, though, try to improve practice efficiency by implementing techniques that have proven effective for other practices. Consider consulting a practice growth expert who can evaluate your flow and time management. If improving your efficiency doesn’t solve the problem, you may need to book your practice’s schedule more lightly to allow more time for each appointment.

4.   Were you satisfied with the cleanliness, tidiness, and organization of the practice?

Cleanliness and organization are direct indicators of quality and professionalism. If your waiting room is untidy or your facilities aren’t clean, your patients will question the quality of care being provided at your practice, and they’ll be more likely to see everything else in a negative light.

Finding time to tidy up between appointments on a busy day can be tough. You shouldn’t pull out the vacuum cleaner and vacuum around your patients’ feet, but don’t be afraid to dispose of empty cups in the waiting room, fix up magazines on the tables, or wipe down a reception desk that’s full of fingerprints. Patients would usually rather see staff members keeping busy than sitting around when there are tasks that clearly need attention.

5.   How would you rate your overall experience?

This one is especially important, and it should be an open-ended question. The “overall experience” question should be the last one on your patient satisfaction survey. It provides your patients with an opportunity to answer a question you didn’t think to ask. Usually, this is where you’ll find out what really matters to a patient. If you’re doing everything right, you’ll likely get a few encouraging, uplifting notes to pin to the bulletin board in your staff room.

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