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Six Times You Should Be Getting Feedback in Your Hospital (And Whom You Should Get It From)

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Written by Ashlie Jones
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The Importance Of Customer Satisfaction In Healthcare 

Patients have choices when it comes to their healthcare, and that includes the hospitals they seek care from. You cannot overstate the importance of customer satisfaction in healthcare, especially in today's competitive healthcare market. 

But how do you know you are creating this experience? How do you know your patients are satisfied? How do you know what changes to make, or what to keep doing more of?

 

Why Collecting Patient Feedback Is Important

If you want to know what other people think of your hospital, collecting feedback is the best way to do it. Patient satisfaction should not be just another one of your interests. As a healthcare facility, patient satisfaction should be your highest priority. Knowing what you are doing right or wrong can help you improve the quality of healthcare customer service you provide.

But feedback is not always uniform. You may get good feedback from one patient, while another may talk negatively about your organization. However, feedback still allows you to identify gaps in patient care. For this to work, though, you must know when the right times are to ask for feedback. 

 

The Best Times to Collect Feedback in Your Hospital

People sometimes leave unsolicited feedback for hospitals. They take their experiences to review sites, or they tell their friends, neighbors, or the clerk at the post office. Nowadays they're also apt to take to social media. Unfortunately, spontaneous feedback is often the result of a less than stellar experience. 

As a more systematic approach to collecting feedback, many facilities rely on multiple choice feedback forms sent a week or two after the patient has had a procedure or visited the emergency room. This isn't necessarily the best or most effective way to get accurate feedback, however.

So when should you ask—before, during, or after care? And whom should you ask—just the patients, or also their families or your staff? Let's delve into these questions to find out when you should be getting feedback, and whom you should be getting it from.

 

1. During The Appointment

Perhaps the most crucial time to receive feedback from patients and their families is when they are physically present in your facility. You can do this by arranging a group of people for the task of shadowing visitors in your hospital. 

From the minute they come in to when they exit, this group should observe patients and families at every step (with their permission, of course). One employee can be responsible for a certain number of people to avoid any sense of overcrowding. Patient shadowing is a well-established method of taking care of and dealing with potential issues before they cause damage. 

 

2. Check-in and Checkout

The simple process of checking in and out, whether at the main desk to come in for a scheduled appointment, or at a busy ER reception desk, is often one of the most memorable points of contact for healthcare consumers. During a hospital stay, a patient may not remember much else about their time, but they will likely remember how they felt walking in and out of the door. Reception desks and waiting rooms are an incredibly important part of the healthcare customer's experience.

A smooth process with welcoming professionals sets the tone and makes patients feel safe. Getting quick feedback during or after these points gives you valuable data that can help shape your process to increase patient satisfaction.

 

3. Post-Surgery

Sending a survey or other feedback tool post-surgery is a good way to gain feedback from your patients. Whether it's a simple outpatient procedure or a complex emergency surgery, it's important to know how your patients feel about the healthcare services you provide.

 

4. Post-ER Visit

Simple feedback following an emergency visit is invaluable in gauging how your hospital is scoring in healthcare customer service. Are you able to treat your patients in a timely manner? Are you creating a safe, welcoming environment? 

 

5. After A Consultation

Pre-surgery consultations are an ideal time to get feedback. Patients will make decisions based on how they feel. Do they feel a sense of trust? Do they feel welcome? Do they feel secure in seeking services from your facility? Why or why not? 

 

6. Throughout The Labor And Delivery Process

We are not suggesting that you ask a person in labor about their opinion on your services, but it is important to secure feedback from new parents to find out how your hospital is doing in regard to healthcare customer service.  

There are numerous times to engage in feedback. A great opportunity, for example, is when prospective parents first decide to have their baby at your hospital. Why did they choose you? What have they heard? What are you offering that another nearby hospital isn't?

While parents are still at the hospital, you can check in and get their feedback. How was the intake process for them? What about the facilities? How were they treated and what could be done better or differently?

In this case, waiting until weeks later to ask questions isn't going to cut it. The haze of new parenting will often dilute the recollection of their customer service experience.

 

Questions to Ask When Collecting Patient Feedback

There are any number of questions you can ask to ensure the standard quality of care was met. Here are some questions that we recommend asking your patients:

  • How likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?
  • How did you find the experience of booking appointments?
  • How would you rate the professionalism of our staff?
  • Were our staff empathetic to your needs?
  • How long did you have to wait until the doctor attended to you?
  • As a woman, did you feel comfortable talking to the gynecologist?
  • Were you satisfied with the doctor you met with?
  • Did the pharmacy staff bill your health provider and collect the right deductible from you for your medicines?
  • How easy was it to navigate our facility?


Who Else Should You Be Getting Feedback From?

 

Staff Feedback

Staff are an overlooked source for feedback. They truly understand the importance of customer service in healthcare, and they are the ones who are most likely to know what is and isn't working for healthcare consumers in a hospital setting. Why?

First, they are usually the recipient of feedback. They hear directly from patients when things go well—or don't go well—and they are often able to offer suggestions for how things could have been done differently to avoid issues or to improve patient experience.

Regularly checking in with staff, whether at the front desk or in other departments, is a good practice. This can be as simple as sending regular surveys to your staff so they are able to give frequent feedback and help shape healthcare customer service in your hospital.

Another reason to regularly seek out staff feedback is to help identify and prevent burnout and other problems that ultimately affect healthcare customer service and dissatisfaction among staff.

 

Caregiver Feedback

Caregivers are a valuable source of feedback as well. Caregivers may be family members, friends, spouses, or hired professionals. They are there for appointments, consultations, procedures, emergencies, and aftercare.

Caregivers are often the voice of the patient, advocating for them and walking with them through most of their healthcare processes. Their healthcare customer service experience matters too. Like patients, getting feedback from caregivers can happen a number of places and times throughout their experience with your facility.

 

Key Takeaways

The healthcare industry is becoming increasingly competitive. The best way to make sure your patients come back to you and refer you to their friends and family is by providing a top-notch experience. A well-structured patient feedback system enables you to understand the problems and reach perfection. 

There are a variety of tools that can be used to encourage engagement and feedback from healthcare consumers. For more information on how you can improve customer service in healthcare, contact us today.

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