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Measuring Healthcare Patient Satisfaction

How do you as an organization measure healthcare patient satisfaction ? Determining the best method for requires analysis of several important factors such as the healthcare delivery system, staff workflow process and the patient setting. Let’s call these “touch points” moving forward. In this article we will discuss several of the most common healthcare touch points and match them up with state of the art patient satisfaction survey technologies now available.

First we need to define the touch point environments. For example, are you measuring patient satisfaction in an outpatient or inpatient setting? Are healthcare providers capturing real-time bedside feedback while rounding, or do you want to gather feedback at the point-of-care from an outpatient clinic or an exit survey in your pharmacies? Each of these touch points call for unique patient satisfaction measurement tools.

Common Healthcare Touch Points:

Inpatient Feedback: When gathering patient feedback within an inpatient setting, the healthcare provider will most likely want use a mobile survey device or mobile survey app on their own personal mobile device (phone, tablet, iPad, etc.). Popular use cases for inpatient feedback are for rounding (bedside patient feedback) and at discharge. There are a number of options here – from dedicated mobile survey devices to survey apps such as an iOS survey app that can run on an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. Whenever selecting a customer survey app, it’s important to make sure the app can run in online and offline modes. By online mode, we mean real-time which is critical for service recovery purposes (allowing healthcare provides to be notified in real-time when there is a service recovery issue); and offline mode meaning that when the device loses Internet connectivity that the survey app continues functioning regardless if Internet connection is lost, and most important that data is not lost but stored on the device until the Internet connection resumes.

Outpatient Feedback: Within the outpatient setting, you have several available feedback options and perhaps a mixture of these solutions should be considered. Mobile survey devices can be a very efficient method of capturing spontaneous patient satisfaction feedback at the point-of-care within the exam room or while checking out with the staff at the front desk. Additionally, survey kiosks (which can be stand, wall or table mounted) can be used in the lobby area or near the exit. Advantages to the survey kiosk are that it requires no staff involvement and is a stand-alone solution. Often, a mixture of the two survey technologies is the best approach – combining survey kiosks with mobile survey devices. When using the survey kiosks or mobile survey devices, your survey can also capture the patient’s email address which then can be used as a follow up survey delivered by email. We refer to this approach as a mixed-mode survey approach.

Real-time Point-of-Care Feedback: the “pain-point” we most commonly hear from healthcare providers is the delay in receiving actionable survey data. This is because there is often a significant delay from the time the patient provided the feedback to when the healthcare provider receives the survey data. This makes it difficult to be responsive to patient requests and impossible when it involves service recovery. The good news for healthcare provides is delayed survey data is no longer necessary.

With the current availability of sophisticated, cost-effective survey technologies, healthcare providers are now able to implement more effective and cost effective patient satisfaction feedback programs.

How to Achieve Healthy Customer Satisfaction Survey Response Rates

The most important factor in conducting a customer satisfaction survey is aggregating a “representative sample” from your target audience. To achieve this balanced sample of customer opinion, the survey must have adequate response rates. What follows is a list of steps you can take to ensure a healthy response rate to your customer surveys:
Survey Length– There is a correlation between the length of the survey and response rate. The shorter the survey the more likely you will have a higher response rate. It is always a challenge to balance the desire to get every last bit of information with the inconvenience of survey responder having to fill out so many questions. This is especially the case in highly-trafficked areas. For example, if you are capturing feedback after a customer’s visit or have a kiosk adjacent a queue line, the questionnaire should be quite short. On the other hand, if your customers are waiting for services, a longer survey may be appropriate.

Customer Satisfaction Survey Kiosk

Placement – It is critical that a self-administered survey system such as an Opinionmeter kiosk or smartphone QR-code is placed where it will capture the attention of the customer. The Opinionmeter survey device should be located at the optimum point in the transaction/service flow – appropriately placed for when you wish to solicit the feedback. If you wish to capture feedback regarding the customer’s experience, then the device should be placed in the exit path or discharge area. If on the other hand you wish to gather pre-visit or data relating to the overall experience from repeat visitors, then you can take advantage of waiting time and place the device in the waiting area or queue line.

Signage – Prominent signage requesting customers to take a short survey can significantly help draw attention to the Opinionmeter device. Signage can also be used to effectively communicate the importance and use of the data being collected, along with any incentives being offered, if any.

Staff Involvement – The single most powerful driver of response rate is staff involvement. At the conclusion of the visit, if staff asks the customer to provide a “minute of their time to give us their feedback” – a high percentage of customers will do so. It’s also important that staff be educated about the survey so they do not feel intimidated by the data being collected (e.g. that they’re being judged negatively by the customer’s responses).

Incentives – Opinionmeter devices have several optional incentive features. The “Winning Number” feature issues winning notifications to respondents according to a sequence number you select (e.g. with a sequence number of 50, every 50th respondent would be a winner). The “Winning Quiz” identifies winners based on how they respond to the survey – they must answer the survey quiz questions “correctly” to be a winner. These are optional features which can be fun and increase response rate when used in appropriate settings.

Feedback resulting in Action – It’s critical, especially in environments where you have repeat customers, to inform the customer of the actions that have been or are being implemented based on customer feedback. This can be done through simple signage placed at the survey station, on the device, even on the introductory screen of the survey itself or through a company newsletter, website, etc. Customers need to know their feedback is not only being recorded, but that their feedback is resulting in actions being taken to implement change.

Market Research Companies Partner with Opinionmeter

Opinionmeter has signed licensee agreements with two new market research companies since the beginning of the year. This exciting news brings Opinionmeter to now 12 worldwide licensees across four continents.

These market research agencies have partnered with Opinionmeter because their clients are demanding real-time point-of-experience customer feedback.  These sophisticated market research companies understand the growing demand for mobile research technologies. Opinionmeter, who was awarded the patent for the original survey kiosk, has been an innovator in the mobile research technology space for 20 years.

Fast forward to a world of social media, user-generated review sites and blog commenting and everything in brand management and marketing has changed. In her book, The Groundswell (May, 2011, revised) Charlene Li discusses how the ability to post online has shifted ownership of the brand experience to the customer. Li says that management no longer owns the brand, but is simply a facilitator and caretaker of the brand experience.  While company management teams may still feel they own their brands, they also realize they are held publicly accountable by their customers in the online forums to provide the best possible experience. To this end, brand managers are requesting their market research agencies use sophisticated survey platforms to gather customer opinions and preferences at the point of experience.  Opinionmeter’s mobile research technology platform fits this need perfectly as it enables the capture of real-time “voice of the customer” feedback at the point-of-experience using their mobile smartphone and tablet devices.

These new partner market research companies have told us they preferred Opinionmeter’s TouchPoint mobile survey platform because it can be white-labeled and custom branded for seamless interaction with existing customers in any language, anywhere in the world. Additionally, Opinionmeter’s mixed-mode, cross-platform survey platform allows surveys to be authored once and deployed over a wide range of mobile devices and operating systems. Mobile devices include Android, Apple iOS and Windows operating systems. The Opinionmeter TouchPoint system supports native mobile apps for offline data capture as well as mobile web apps that don’t require an app to be downloaded. In addition to being experts in mobile survey apps, Opinionmeter’s survey solutions also support survey kiosks, mobile web, online and paper surveys.

Smart companies require this deep consumer insight because they know when they understand what motivates their customers; they are able to create web content and marketing pieces that directly attack the best loved attributes of their brand experience. This efficient, spot-on style of marketing can have a major impact on sales and revenue.

More information about the Opinionmeter Licensee Program