It all starts with…an email
If you’ve read any of my past blogs, or know anything about my company, you know that we are major proponents of online surveying. But online surveying in healthcare often comes with a huge obstacle: capturing patients’ email addresses!
Of course, some healthcare organizations routinely ask patients for their email address, but others do not, or don’t do it consistently, across various touch points.
This boggles my mind. What other major industry misses such an opportunity to open an electronic channel of communication with its customers?
According to the Pew Research Center, some 85% of Americans use the Internet*, and I would guess, most of these individuals have at least one (if not several) email addresses.
Of course the large freight train called “Meaningful Use” is lumbering down the track. So this will be an incentive for greater electronic communication between providers and patients, as providers must show that consumers are using portals to access their medical information, communicate with their doctors, and so forth.
Meanwhile, we encourage all healthcare organizations, including physician practices, to implement processes that will routinely allow patients/consumers to “opt in” and provide their email address.
In our recent “What’s Reasonable?” study, we found that 92% of our respondents had been to see a doctor in the last year, but only 23% of them said they received a patient satisfaction survey. This could be because mail surveying is expensive for a provider to do on a routine basis, considering the cost of the paper, printing, postage, data entry, and reporting. Organizations may not want that kind of expense to survey all their patients, even though the feedback is crucial to improving quality of care.
Online surveying is more convenient for both the organization AND the patients. Based on our experience, online surveying offers a response rate similar to that of mail. Would you be more likely to take an experience survey if it were emailed to you rather than one that is snail mailed? Eight in ten (79%) of our study respondents said they would prefer to take an experience survey online rather than by phone or mail.
There are many benefits of online surveying, as evidenced in our white paper on this topic. Any organization, big or small, healthcare or non-healthcare, can benefit from the convenience and affordability of online surveying. And our surveys deploy to smart phones and tablets, as well as to desktop and laptop computers, so that consumers on the move can still provide valuable feedback.
To learn more about how patients feel about online surveying and using the Internet for their healthcare, download the results of our 2014 “What’s Reasonable?” study.