Are patient survey results slowing you down?
We often hear healthcare executives complain that by the time they receive survey results, other hospital staff disregard them as no longer relevant. To them, so much time has passed that things have “certainly improved.” We suggest using a survey method that will produce results more quickly, so that you can use them as valid leverage in your effort to improve the patient experience.
Online surveying requires the least amount of time between a patient receiving a service and the hospital getting that patient’s feedback. In our 2012 white paper, Benefits of Capturing Patient Feedback Using Today’s Technology, we found that by using online surveying, a major Medical Center received 90% of their final survey results within eight days of sending out the surveys.
Less time spent waiting for results allows for a more accurate and current picture of what kind of experience you are providing to your patients. This means:
- You can act more quickly to improve areas that your patients are dissatisfied with
- Hospital staff will know sooner what they are doing correctly
Mail surveying is inefficient for a couple of reasons:
- In general, mail surveying is very slow due to the fact that the survey must be sent, received by the patient, completed, and then mailed back–a four-step process
- A required follow-up survey is sent via snail mail to patients that did not complete the survey the first time
This follow-up step adds about two weeks to the surveying process, bringing the total time to receive mail surveying results to approximately six weeks. This is three times as long as the two weeks typically needed for online surveying.
Phone surveying, while usually faster than mail, still depends on when the survey vendors makes the calls, processes the results and makes them available to you. Alternately, online surveying requires little processing time and allows for more instantaneous feedback.
While an online method is not yet approved for HCAHPS surveying, we think that it’s on the horizon. In the meantime, using a combination of mail and online surveying is an HCAHPS-compliant approach that we recommend to yield useful and timely patient feedback.
To learn what key questions you should be asking about patient experience surveying, download our free white paper here.