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GuidesPatient experienceThe ultimate guide to patient feedback 2024

The ultimate guide to patient feedback 2024

Last updated

2 August 2023

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Dovetail Editorial Team

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In 2023, healthcare companies are acknowledging the importance of data analytics in their marketing efforts. Patient analytics can boost patient retention, improve satisfaction, and raise overall healthcare outcomes. 

It all starts with capturing and responding to patient feedback promptly and appropriately. 

This post offers a comprehensive guide to patient feedback in 2023, focusing on refining your patient experience data-gathering efforts, taking action, and responding to patient feedback. 

We’re outlining all the tips you need to know to boost your healthcare analytics and insights and make more informed decisions. 

Why is patient feedback essential for healthcare providers?

Statistics prove what we’ve known for a long time: Patient feedback is crucial for patient acquisition and retention. 

It’s common for individuals to choose a physician based on positive or negative feedback. 

But patient feedback doesn’t just influence whether potential patients pick or reject your medical care services. Understanding the patient experience can help with patient safety, quality improvement, and overall satisfaction at your healthcare facility. 

Here are a few key reasons why patient feedback is essential:

Facilitating a simple, compassionate healthcare experience

Gathering feedback from patients and their families is crucial for delivering a great healthcare experience. 

The patient's voice allows healthcare organizations to know how their needs, feelings, and satisfaction levels change throughout the process of accessing medical care. 

With a proper understanding of patient experience, you can detect when and where experiences fall short of expectations. This enables you to implement appropriate improvements in the technology, people, and processes you rely on to deliver a personalized patient experience. 

Collecting patient feedback and assessing healthcare quality lets your facility detect where services need improvement. 

Forming a robust healthcare experience requires effective data collection and analysis.

Improving patient loyalty and identifying fresh opportunities for growth

Using patient feedback strategically can help your healthcare facility boost referrals, grow patient loyalty, and spot new growth opportunities. 

Many medical organizations often ask their patients for feedback to raise patient satisfaction.

While facilities have largely embraced this strategy due to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) mandates, that’s not the only driver.

Healthcare facilities drive revenue and loyalty by improving satisfaction. This usually follows massive success in their customer experience programs.  

Working on patient experience can have great dividends, especially when relying on feedback. 

Patient analytics research shows that patients who give a “very good” rating are more likely to: 

  • Recommend your healthcare facility to friends or family

  • Return for future care needs

  • Forgive a mistake

Great customer experience in the healthcare industry translates to improved patient experience, engagement, loyalty, and endorsement.

Improving your online reputation

A healthy online reputation is one of the most important things your healthcare establishment needs in the digital world. 

A strong reputation helps your facility maintain a robust digital presence, attract potential clients, and solidify your patient base. 

Securing crucial funding

Collecting feedback can come in handy when you want to secure vital funding, although taking action makes the biggest difference. 

Like most other healthcare providers, you may already have a patient feedback system. 

On most occasions, positive feedback about patient experiences greatly influences funding and reimbursements. While this purpose requires you to monitor the patient experience, collecting patient feedback concerns more than the current circumstances. 

Sophisticated healthcare facilities know they must do more than collect patient feedback. They acknowledge the need to act on insights with a forward-looking perspective to ensure quality improvement and enhanced care provision. 

Retroactive metrics are great for reporting but not for facilitating the actions needed to ensure a simple, benevolent, and high-quality patient experience. 

Keeping up with the competition

Patient feedback helps your healthcare facility better connect with patients and remain competitive. 

Since patient expectations are constantly changing, listening to your patients could help to keep track of these changes and remain competitive.  

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The main benefits of acting on patient feedback

While asking for patient feedback is simple, it can be tricky. However, research shows that even a one-star increase could improve your revenue by 5–9%

Most people are also likely to leave a review if asked to

Therefore, you have to know how to get patient feedback that you can use to better your facility's rating and care.   

Below are some of the top benefits of acting on your patient feedback: 

  • Predicting patient desire: When you understand what patients want, you can redesign your healthcare facility's services to attract new clients and improve market share. 

  • Personalizing patient experiences: Customizing the patient experience to offer empathy at scale leads to improved patient loyalty, retention, and trust.  

  • Maintaining positive scores: Great ratings are essential for accreditations, designations, reimbursement programs, and overall rankings.  

  • Staff training: Your employees should foster a great patient experience, so you need to align your staff training and development with patient feedback and expectations.  

  • Amending policies: Patient feedback can tell you which policies and procedures your patients are unhappy with, so you can make the requisite changes. 

  • Optimizing your facility's impact: You can use feedback to align your resources to improvements that are most meaningful to your community. 

How to collect feedback from patients

The most effective way to gather patient feedback is through an intricate survey program with extra analysis. This strategy can also help you understand how well those in your health services believe in your healthcare facility's potential to improve its quality of care. 

Consider these factors as you collect patient feedback: 

Gather information across your care continuum

Gather feedback across all touchpoints to build a comprehensive picture of your patient's healthcare experience. 

You can solicit and collect this feedback through several channels, including:

  • Emails 

  • Text

  • Social sites

  • Websites

  • Apps

  • Call centers

Use an omnichannel approach

For the feedback you gather to be accurate and effective, you must scrape through multiple channels, focusing on digital. 

Digital searches for healthcare providers drive about three times as many visitors to healthcare facility sites as non-search visitors. 

One great way to do this is to serve surveys at multiple touchpoints, such as: 

  • Within emails

  • Pop-ups on your website

  • In-app

  • Phone surveys

  • On social media

Consider conversation analytics to capture what your patients are not saying

It is important to ensure that you capture your patients' online and offline views. 

This can include using natural language processing, various algorithms, and machine learning to analyze chat transcripts, phone calls, and posts. 

Get employee feedback to understand both sides

While patients offer key information you can use for quality improvement, your staff members also have valuable insights into patient engagement and experience. Their feedback can let you know the pain points in the patient journey that affect patients and employees. 

Getting staff feedback also shows that you value their input. This can increase engagement levels, boosting patient outcomes and revenue.  

Methods of obtaining patient feedback

You can use several means of collecting patient feedback, depending on what suits your practice and patients: 

Feedback forms

The best time to use a physical feedback form is after a patient has received their diagnosis and finished their visit. 

The form will allow the patient to say how their experience has been at your facility, evaluating various issues, such as: 

  • Whether the healthcare specialists fully explained the issue

  • Whether the healthcare specialists provided answers to all questions

  • Satisfaction with the overall experience 

Feedback forms give your healthcare business more credibility and show that you care. If you can’t give out physical forms, share digital copies via email or text. 

Surveys

It’s good practice to send surveys via text or email to your patients to solicit information about your facility's quality of care. 

This habit makes your practice stand out and shows that you truly value patient feedback. 

Website

You can have one or several landing pages on your website dedicated to collecting patient feedback. To make it easy to access, add it as a call-to-action (CTA) on relevant pages to generate more responses.  

Social media

Social sites are always some of the best places to turn when looking to gather patient feedback. 

It’s easy to reach out to a patient on Facebook and ask them if they’d be willing to answer a few questions about your facility’s services. 

Ensure the process is hassle-free so your patients feel comfortable offering feedback. 

Calls

While most modern patients prefer texting over phone calls, calling is still a superb way to solicit feedback. It offers a personal touch and could generate very practical insights. 

Make sure you adequately prepare for these calls and keep them as short as possible.  

Focus groups

With focus groups, you can gather valuable insights from several patients in a short time. 

Participants can build on each other's experiences as they engage in open and honest discussions without fear of judgment. 

One-to-one conversations

When you want a direct analysis of your facility's quality of care, engaging in one-to-one conversations with patients is the way to go. 

This process leads to more accurate data collection, and you can tailor the conversations to meet patients' needs. 

Taking action on patient feedback

Collecting and analyzing patient data should help you upgrade the quality of care at your facility. 

Consider these tips as you take action:

Use patient feedback for data-driven insight and action

Taking action on real-time insights requires you to:

View all data and insights in one place

You can lose valuable data, analytics, and insights when you use disparate systems. 

With dynamic dashboards, you can analyze on a role or location basis to view all you need to know to develop useful action plans

This could also allow you to ensure CAHPS data and seamlessly adhere to regulatory requirements under one consolidated system. 

Get to the root of various problems

Machine learning and AI-powered software can help you automatically produce insights into problem areas. 

You can compare feedback from different roles, services, and locations to know where performance is lacking and why. 

Automatically initiate action

Automatic triggers can help your systems and teams take action to boost the experiences dear to your patients and community. 

When you automate specific actions, change can occur at an organizational level without specific teams overseeing the change. 

Make quick changes to improve quality and enhance patient satisfaction

Real-time insights enable you to make quick changes to boost patient outcomes and satisfaction. 

Use instant reporting and dashboards to automatically convey proper insights to the appropriate individuals across the company, so they can act swiftly.     

Responding to patient feedback

After gathering patient feedback, analyze it and respond to show you appreciate your patients' time and effort. 

The first response should be a "thank you.” The next and most impactful response should demonstrate how you’ve acted upon the feedback and the resulting improved experience.   

You have to respond to both solicited and unsolicited feedback, whether positive or negative. 

Here are some ways of responding: 

A quick response

When it comes to issuing feedback responses, time is of the essence. Whether you’re dealing with positive or negative feedback, a quick response helps patients feel valued. 

Apologize or say thank you

Even negative feedback can help you make improvements. So, before you apologize for a poor patient experience, thank the patient for finding time to offer feedback.   

Offer to resolve the issue

If the feedback is negative, resolve the flagged issue appropriately. This shows your facility can change and lets potential patients know they'll be cared for.  

Move the conversation to a private space

We recommend avoiding further negative comments on a public platform. Move the conversation to a private channel or offline, where appropriate. 

Here’s how you can formulate your response to patient feedback: 

Automated survey response

“Thank you for taking the time to complete our online appointment and scheduling process survey. We value your feedback and will use it to improve our patient experience. 

Click [link] if you would like to know more about how we'll use this information.”

Response to a negative review

“Thank you for your response. We are sorry your appointment did not meet your expectations. 

We use your feedback to improve our quality of care and would love to get further insights into your experience. 

Please reach out to [service department] on [phone number] to discuss this experience with our team.”

How to use patient feedback data to improve the patient experience

You can customize services to specific groups or make forecasts about the broader market with the trends and patterns you uncover from patient feedback.

An in-depth analysis can help you spot fresh opportunities and patient experience gaps. This allows you to develop novel services and products to address patient needs.

FAQs

How do you ask a patient for feedback?

You can ask patients for feedback in several ways, such as: 

  • Through one-to-one conversations

  • Surveys across multiple channels

  • Phone calls

  • Any other method that works for your patients

Whatever method you choose, remember to be considerate, explain the purpose of the data, and offer anonymity. 

Why is it necessary to get feedback from patients?

Collecting patient feedback can help a healthcare facility:

  • Improve quality and patient satisfaction

  • Enhance patient-focused care

  • Identify issues before they become unmanageable

How do you handle negative feedback from a patient?

Thank the patient for their feedback and use their feedback to investigate and remedy the issue. 

Afterward, it would help if you communicated the actions taken and followed up with the patient to know whether they are satisfied with how you resolved the issue.

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