How the Best Hospitals Collect and Track Real-Time Patient Feedback

Patient satisfaction isn’t just an interest for top medical facilities, it is one of the highest priorities so that hospitals can improve upon the quality of the care they provide.

While patient satisfaction is not necessarily uniform in how it is measured or acted upon across facilities, states, and countries, it is collectively viewed as a valuable metric to identify gaps in patient care and opportunities for improvement.

Patient satisfaction surveys can take on any number of purposes. From what a patient thinks of an individual doctor to their experience at a particular facility and any and all services a patient encounters while receiving care can be evaluated and measured from a patient satisfaction standpoint.

Here are just a few examples of how the best medical systems collect and track real-time patient feedback.

The Collection of Patient Feedback

We work with about twenty hospital systems all across the United States, and our feedback solution is primarily utilized by the hospital food and dining services.

Surprisingly, the food experience is often overlooked in hospitals but does impact overall patient satisfaction as it is another important metric they can rate. Most hospitals use the Press Ganey survey for overall patient satisfaction, which we’ll discuss in just a little bit. Their survey only has three questions regarding food: rate the food quality, food temperature, and server courtesy.

At Touchwork, we take our feedback surveys regarding food a few steps further, because we recognize how valuable the dining experience is to patients and their guests.

In-the-Moment Feedback via SMS, Email, and Kiosk

For the hospitals utilizing Touchwork to collect feedback for food and dining service, we make it as convenient as possible for patients and their visitors to rate their experience. We work with the dining service providers of hospitals to prepare short, electronic surveys via text message and email that can be sent to patients as they are experiencing the food service. We also install survey kiosks in the hospital cafeterias so that patrons who physically visit these locations can immediately share their experience on an accessible tablet that immediately submits, stores, and shares patient feedback.

Patient Comment Cards

As a San Diego-based company, we have familiarity with our local medical systems. Two such systems are the huge Sharp Healthcare and Scripps Healthcare networks in our region. Within the last few years, Sharp Healthcare and Scripps Healthcare have rolled out robust patient satisfaction initiatives by partnering with Press Ganey that methodically collects patient feedback at all encounters with their staff and facilities.

In every doctor’s office and hospital, you will find no shortage of printed patient feedback cards. These are available for patients to fill out to share their experience, including their experience with the in-room dining offerings. The Press Ganey surveys for food generally come as comment cards on the food tray as food is delivered.

Patients can either hand these to a staff member or mail them in. These are primarily used to acknowledge individual staff members or teams for exceptional service.

At Sharp Mary Birch for Women and Newborns, for instance, women who deliver babies there will be given comment cards if they want to share their experience about the nurses and doctors that were on their labor and delivery team. Patients will also receive electronic surveys after the fact to rate their anesthesiologist if they received an epidural, their delivering doctor, and a general comment about their stay at Mary Birch.

Emailed Electronic Surveys

After every doctor’s appointment, lab visit, or procedure, an email survey is sent to the patient to solicit their feedback for that most recent encounter with their service and staff members. These surveys are short and simple with no more than 10 questions that a patient can easily complete on his or her mobile device.

These electronic surveys make it easy for patients to rate the items the medical institution most wants to know about and also leaves an open comment section so that patients can offer feedback on items or issues that aren’t asked.

24/7 Available Rating System

Based on the survey responses collected from the printed card surveys or electronic surveys, doctors and facilities are given a rating that is publicly available on the Sharp Healthcare website and Scripps Healthcare website. This allows full transparency of what patients think of their doctors and why, which makes it easier for prospective patients to review and choose a doctor.

What Feedback Does for Hospitals and Medical Systems

Just like any business, collecting real-time feedback from patients is a way for medical systems to keep their services aligned with what matters most to their patients. Feedback alerts them right away if there was an issue with a particular procedure, staff, member, or facility. Hospitals and medical systems can quickly ascertain whether an issue is an isolated incident or something more substantial.

Moreover, the collection and dissemination of real-time feedback hold everyone accountable to the patients they serve and the shareholders they answer to. When patients are happy, hospitals, medical systems, and the thousands of staff they employ know they are delivering great service and can be rewarded for individual performance.

Real-time feedback forges the intersection between patients and their experiences through vastly complex systems and encounters. It gives patients a voice, allows them to know their experience matters, and elevates the performance of everyone who is devoted to serving their needs.

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About the author

Johann Leitner is the founder and president of Touchwork, a marketing management software company.