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Providing good care to someone in need is something that has no hidden agendas or motives. It is purely done to improve a person’s quality of life. Healthcare practitioners dedicate themselves to the well-being of those around them.
If you are a healthcare professional, nothing would be more important than delivering exceptional care and ensuring that your patients experience better health.
Irrespective of the area that you provide care in, how would you know what’s working for your patients and what’s not? It’s simple; through patient feedback.
What is patient feedback?
When a person has a medical condition and needs treatment for the same, he/she will ensure to invest in a healthcare provider who can meet their expectations. For the same, the first thing that they will do is a basic google search.
Fun fact: nearly 5 per cent of the total searches on Google are health-related.
Let’s say Mark needs a tooth extraction done but is unaware of which dentist is the best fit for him. To gain some clarity, he’ll do a basic search on Google, by asking ‘best dental practitioners near me’. Google will assess his location and will provide him with a list of all the dentists in his vicinity. But how does Mark evaluate the credibility of all those dentists that he has been directed to? By their review ratings.
After seeing the number of reviews and the review star ratings for each of those dentists, he will pick the dentist that he finds to be the most credible OR in other words, the practice with the most positive patient feedback, This is exactly what patient feedback is all about.
Patient feedback provides valuable information pertaining to the quality of your services as a healthcare provider. While positive feedback tells you about the areas you’re excelling at, negative feedback highlights the areas for improvement.
Importance of patient feedback
If you really dig into the intricacies of patient feedback, you’ll realize how important it is to grow your practice, Here are the top reasons why you should immediately start collecting patient feedback:
1. It helps you gain extra insight
Your purpose shouldn’t be to just ask for feedback, but it should be to focus on what each of these feedbacks says about your practice.
- What is driving the positive or negative feedback?
- What is the customer’s motivation behind leaving feedback?
The smallest of things that are difficult for a business owner to realize can spoil your patient’s experience.
For instance, One of our customers found out that despite overall positive feedback about the practice and the doctors at the facility majority of the negative feedback had to do with a receptionist who was very rude to the patients.
Hence, with constant patient feedback, you can bring incremental positive changes to your healthcare practice
2. It helps you maintain a healthy online reputation
Maintaining a healthy reputation online is one of the most crucial things for you as a healthcare practitioner, as it helps create a strong digital presence for your business, attract potential customers, and enhance your patient base.
Fun fact – 99% of our customers were able to save on more than 50% of their marketing spends just by improving patient experience and generating more positive reviews on online platforms
3. It helps you enhance care
When a patient chooses your practice, he/she expects a great experience, right from the scheduling of the appointment to the wait time, from your attitude towards him/her to the communication, diagnosis and treatment offered.
As a healthcare practitioner, your job shouldn’t just limit to providing treatment, but also ‘care’. So be mindful of what your patients expect and accordingly align the pre and post-visit care you provide.
Fun fact – Our research revealed that 100% of medical practices that invest in Patient care see an improvement of appx. 30% in patient retention
4. It improves healthcare outcomes
Constant patient engagement helps improve healthcare outcomes as well, every patient’s circumstances, body reactions, adaptability and response to a particular medicine can be very different in other words, if a particular course of treatment works well for a patient it’s not necessary that it’ll work for other patients as well hence learning from your patients will help your practice provide better healthcare.
This will also help drastically improve the patient experience which is directly proportional to patient retention. The better care you provide, the more patients you retain. You need to show that you appreciate their feedback and the fact that it matters to you.
Doing so will make your patients feel valued, which will further boost engagement.
5. It helps you keep up with the competition
Patient feedback is not only a means for you to connect with your patients, but is also an important tool to see where you stand in this competitive world.
Patient expectations are constantly changing and listening to your patients is step one when it comes to keeping up with these changing expectations and the competition.
6. It helps generate positive word of mouth
Constant patient feedback highlights the fact that you care for your patient’s well-being, it not only promotes patient retention but also ensures new patient acquisition thanks to positive word of mouth.
Your existing patients become the ambassadors for your medical practice and a medical facility that attracts patients solely on word of mouth is highly likely to beat the competition that relies on marketing budgets.
5 easy ways to collect patient feedback
Now that we understand the importance of patient feedback, here are some easy ways to collect feedback from your patients:
Whenever you deliver a service to a patient, ensure to send out a survey via email or text. This will not only reflect that you value your patient’s feedback but will also make your practice stand out.
You can use Emitrr to send surveys to your patients. Simply log in to your account, and select ‘Surveys’. This is what you will be directed to:
You can create your own survey form by asking a question as simple as ‘How was our service?’ and give two options; ‘good’ and ‘bad’.
After adding the question and the options, you can distribute your survey to your contacts. You can view the response in the view responses tab in the above image, and can even analyze the data by clicking on the ‘form metrics’ button.
When a patient comes to visit, and they are done with the diagnosis, you can hand out a physical feedback form asking them about their experience.
Doing so will establish the credibility of your business, and will show your patients that you care. You can analyze the feedback received from your patients and accordingly make adjustments to the areas of pre-care, care, and post-care.
It can include questions like:
- Did your healthcare provider explain the issues to you?
- Did your healthcare provider answer all your questions?
- Are you satisfied with the overall experience? etc.
You can create a landing page on your website dedicated to patient feedback. This will make it really easy for your patients to share their experiences.
adding this as a CTA on relevant pages also works really well in generating more responses from your patients.
Social media is a powerful tool to make use of if you are looking for feedback from your patients. You can simply reach out to your patients via social media and ask them to leave feedback on your Facebook or Healthgrades page.
Make sure that the process is hassle-free otherwise the customer might not bother leaving feedback at all.
Although not the most preferred way to generate feedback as patients today prefer texting over phone calls, Calling is still a great way to bring in the personal touch and generate useful insights.
Just make sure that you are well-prepared for these calls, and whenever possible keep the conversation short.
BONUS: Two extremely effective ways to collect patient feedback
While offline methods are no longer easy to execute in today’s digital world, these can prove to be highly effective, here are two additional methods that you can use to garner some really useful and actionable insights.
Focus groups can prove to be a great way for you to collect patient feedback as you will gain valuable insights into the perceptions and experiences of all the participants of that group.
Using focus groups to collect patient feedback has its own pros and cons, listed as under.
- You can explore the perceptions and experiences of people in greater depth
- It encourages open and honest discussions in a non-judgemental environment
- It leads to new insights as participants build upon each other’s experiences
- It helps collect more information in a short period of time
- There is room for bias as people might be influenced by each other’s opinions
- Sometimes it can be challenging to manage group interactions
- If the sample group is not diverse, the data may not be generalized to the larger population
- If the group is large, the scope for in-depth exploration might be limited
Another effective way to collect patient feedback is through one-on-one conversations. By conversing personally, you can easily get a direct analysis of the experiences of people who have availed of healthcare services at your practice.
Conducting one-on-one conversations also brings along its own set of advantages and limitations.
- The private setting allows patients to share their experiences more openly, which means more accurate data for analysis
- Such conversations can be tailored to the needs of the patients
- The flexible nature of such conversations allows better participation, while also minimizing any barriers to access
- It helps in-depth exploration of experiences and perceptions of the patients
- Since the experiences of a single patient are being covered, the perspective of limited hence a wider data set is recommended
- Collecting insights from each patient separately can be a time-consuming process
- The insights might not be generalized if the recruited participants aren’t diverse
- Patients might feel judged and hence might not be honest during conversations
What happens when you don’t ask for patient feedback?
When you don’t ask for feedback from your patients, you might unknowingly be causing a lot of harm to your practice.
Patients might think that their feedback doesn’t matter to you
If you are looking forward to acquiring and retaining patients, you must understand that your patients want to be heard. With a strong patient feedback system, you can eliminate the possibility of unknowingly neglecting your patients.
You might lose out on valuable insights that can help improve your practice
Not asking for patient feedback at all also means that your healthcare practice is not open to positive change. Being unaware of whats working and whats not working means that you will never be able to improve your patient’s experience
Patient feedback has a major business impact
Patient feedback directly impacts many things at your practice including patient retention, patient engagement, patient intake, new patient acquisition, and your overall online reputation. Unless you are 100% certain that you are extremely good at what you do ignoring patient feedback can prove to be a costly mistake.
How to effectively use patient feedback?
Patient feedback acts as an important metric for healthcare providers to take a deep dive into the experiences of their patients. Here’s how healthcare providers can use patient feedback to improve their services and processes:
- Improve patient outcomes: Honest feedback from patients can help healthcare providers address areas that can significantly improve the quality of care and assist patients with their physical, social and emotional needs.
- Revising policies and procedures: Patient feedback can also help providers understand the processes with which patients are not happy, and can make the requisite changes in their policies and procedures.
- Making informed decisions: Healthcare providers collect patient feedback to assess the needs of the patients and make informed decisions over the course of the treatment, thereby improving the health outcomes of the patient.
- Training employees: One crucial element that contributes towards good patient experience is the staff that deals with the patient. Healthcare providers need to invest their time and effort in employee training and development to ensure good patient experience and top-notch care.
- Strategic planning: Collecting patient feedback allows healthcare providers to thoroughly understand things that work for them and things that pose challenges. With a clear view of both these aspects, healthcare providers can plan ahead and devise strategies that are patient-centric.
- Stay up to speed with changing patient expectations: Healthcare providers need to be upfront with the latest developments in the healthcare sector. A strategy that works at present might not be feasible to implement a couple of months down the line. They need to be constantly on their toes to understand patient expectations and act accordingly.
Irrespective of the healthcare domain you are a part of, In today’s ever-evolving competitive world, collecting feedback is an important prerequisite to demonstrating an element of trust. Patient feedback is a significant element that will increase your chances of not only improving patient acquisition but also patient retention.
Create processes that will ensure that you are generating and incorporating patient feedback to constantly improve your practice. Emitrr has proudly on average increased review generation by 400% for our customers, schedule a demo today to see how we can help your medical facility improve patient outcomes.