Patient feedback is more important than ever. It doesn’t just reflect the quality of your clinic; it also influences the public’s decision on whether to choose your business. So it’s absolutely vital that you’re acting on that input. But how do you collect patient feedback effectively to begin with?
You can improve your response rate when you focus on the purpose that feedback serves for your clinic, process and document optimizations, and a follow-up plan.
While patient feedback can certainly be verbal, it typically comes either through a survey that the clinic sends out or a review the patient wrote online. It includes anything the patient has to say about any communication or interaction they have with your business or staff, including your website, scheduling/registration process, human interaction, treatment, and billing.
Since you have the most control over what kind of information you get through a survey (vs a Google review,) that’s the kind of feedback we primarily address here.
Most urgent cares track their NPS because that number is a predictor of organizational growth. If patients have a good experience with you, they’re likely to come back — and provide reviews and advice that help persuade new patients to come in.
This is all great, but it may be a bit too high-level to remain a priority for — as an example — front desk staff who work in the weeds dealing with the least pleasant parts of the patient journey. A high NPS is dependent upon every single person your patients interact with. And if you want your entire staff to truly care about it, it has to matter to them.
So take a step back and consider what clinic goals and values patient feedback supports. Getting negative feedback provides an opportunity to improve, but then what? Your score goes up, which helps you attract more patients, but then what? Will employees benefit financially? Does it make room for them to grow in their careers? Does it tie into annual reviews? Does it give them a chance to contribute ideas to improve — and be rewarded for their problem-solving? Just as important: how do their individual efforts directly impact the high-level business goals?
You want your employees invested in patient feedback on every level. This helps to ensure that the best processes are created and followed. Additionally, if staff cares about scores, they’re more likely to keep it in mind with every patient in every situation. So you’re not just getting more feedback, but more positive feedback.
With a clear idea of how patient feedback impacts your goals, it’s time to optimize your process. This includes your delivery method, survey content, and general collection process.
Here are some best practices that can help improve your completion rate.
Once you receive feedback, the real work begins. There are three important steps you need to take once you receive feedback: respond, review, and react.
Whether the feedback is positive or negative, it is imperative that you reply to the patient. Thank them for sharing their experience, and speak directly to the specific information they gave. If the feedback is positive, make them feel appreciated for taking the time to share their thoughts. If the feedback is negative, make sure the patient feels heard, even if it isn’t appropriate for you to include an apology or further follow-up. If you’re taking action, whether it’s reviewing with your team or something more specific to the complaint, let them know. Patients should feel like you take their feedback seriously and that you genuinely care about their experience.
Again, whether positive or negative, it’s important to share feedback with your staff. They can provide more background about the situation, shed light on what may have gone wrong, and help come up with a solution when needed. It also helps them be more accountable for their actions — and boosts morale when the feedback is positive.
Of course, a benefit of knowing what went wrong is understanding how you can improve. Use that review time to brainstorm solutions and then find a realistic, timely way to implement them.
The tools that help you monitor, address, and measure both survey feedback and online reviews are more powerful than ever. If you’re looking to take more control of the feedback process and empower your staff to leverage it better, you may want to upgrade your patient engagement solution. Experity’s patient engagement solution is not only sophisticated, but built specifically for urgent care. Check it out by clicking below.