The Importance Of Collecting Patient Feedback

Philip Cleave
September 12, 2012

The importance of collecting patient feedback is evident – it helps physicians to learn patients’ satisfaction, obtain suggestions about improving their service. With the aid of well designed surveys collecting patient feedback turns into an effective tool for improving physicians’ practice.

The benefits of patient satisfaction surveys comprise above all the identification of ways in which physicians’ practice can be improved. With improvements introduced to meet patients’ expectations and needs, the results are better care and satisfied patients. Furthermore, patient satisfaction surveys and collecting patient feedback show physicians’ staff as well as the entire community that they care for the quality of their service and look for ways to introduce improvements which are needed and expected. Thus physicians can raise their scores and stay competitive. These benefits are all indicative of the importance of patient feedback collection.

When preparing patient satisfaction surveys, it is important to bear in mind that brevity is a prime requirements. Clarity and consistency are also crucial. They enable patients to do surveys effectively, and even in-house surveys can provide reliable statistical data.

Physicians who strive to meet and enhance patient satisfaction cultivate an environment which is auspicious for quality enhancement. Quality should always be up front, and it should constitute the core of a practice, linked with its vision and goals.

With respect to the cost, collecting patient feedback by means of surveys is costlier if organized via outside vendors. In-house surveys are less expensive, but the time required is larger. For different physicians, one or the other method can be more suitable. Besides the cost, the importance of a GP patient survey should be discussed with the staff and colleagues. Physicians who plan to organize such surveys should inform their staff and colleagues and also discuss with them how the results will be interpreted and used.

Naturally, physicians see collecting patient feedback mostly as an important tool to identify areas of weakness and act on them to achieve improvements. Another aspect of the importance of such feedback collection is that physicians can also learn about their success – and that is a reason to celebrate.

Collecting patient feedback can be implemented in various ways: by means of phone surveys, via written surveys, via personal interviews or interviews of focus groups. Written surveys are very cost effective and reliable, and they are the most popular. Phone interviews have been established to be similar in reliability, and their added benefit is that they enable researchers to probe for more specific and detailed information, which is also a great benefit in collecting patient feedback.

Written online surveys are created from scratch, or with products developed by outside vendors. The benefits of the latter method are that such products are tested and proven their efficiency. Typically, the top three issues discussed in patient satisfaction surveys are health care quality, its accessibility, and the respect shown by physicians to patients; the data obtained are of great benefit for physicians to help learn about the advantages and disadvantages of their services according to patients.


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