A 2014 study tested the effect of patient feedback on their experience, using a multilevel analysis of two surveys. Statistical analysis of the data showed that when the healthcare professionals’ knowledge of the patient survey results was increased by 1%, the patient experience index improved by 0.35 points.
This study highlighted the role of feedback in improving the patient experience by establishing a statistical link between their opinions and experiences and the extent to which healthcare professionals are aware of it.
An increasing amount of evidence has shown that effectively harnessing patient feedback on doctors allows healthcare providers to better shape their services and improve the quality of care they deliver, subsequently, driving revenue to their practice.
In this article, we take an in-depth look into what makes doctors value patient feedback and how implementing the insights gained from them can help boost a medical practice’s success.
The need for patient feedback on doctors
Not so long ago, the thought of patient feedback would have elicited only eye rolls from most healthcare providers. It was common for physicians to question how the opinions of a few patients could define their capabilities as a doctor. Several physicians feared that asking for patient feedback could tarnish their reputation and leave them misjudged.
But in today’s competitive environment, patient experience is critical. As more and more healthcare practices embrace the effect of patient feedback on doctors, the more they realize that collecting patient feedback is the key to obtaining credible responses.
By driving insights from patient feedback, these practices can design better programs and services that eliminate any existing concerns. Ultimately, improving transparency within your organization can not only enhance the patient-doctor relationship and establish trust but can also lead to more favorable clinical outcomes.
This is how patient feedback helps your practice:
Boosts your online reputation
The days when most patients used to ask their family or friends for a recommendation when searching for a doctor are over. Today, for most patients, the search for a doctor begins on the internet.
A 2020 survey that consisted of over one thousand patients showed that 90% use online reviews to evaluate physicians. More than half the patients said that they use online reviews as the very first step when choosing a new doctor. This means that having a positive online reputation helps you attract new patients while a negative reputation can drive off potential patients who are looking for a good doctor.
Having a patient feedback system allows healthcare providers to monitor online reviews posted about their healthcare practice. It shows the patients that you prioritize their satisfaction and that you care about their experience. Healthcare providers can use the data gleaned from patient feedback surveys to ask for details about a specific interaction or resolve any issues that might have been raised by a patient. This would encourage your patients to write a positive follow-up review and even refer you to other prospective patients.
Additionally, patient feedback on doctors also allows you to understand the real meaning behind the online reviews posted about your practice. While doctor online reviews are sometimes limited to just ratings or a short paragraph of the patient’s experience, garnering patient feedback on doctors allows you to understand their motivation behind a certain review. Why did a patient give you a negative review when their interaction seemed to go smoothly with you? Feedback data on that particular patient’s episode of care can help you answer that and understand the reasons behind the review beyond just an online rating.
Helps providers improve patient care
What better way to understand the patient experience than to ask the patient themselves? Soliciting feedback on every aspect of a patient’s encounter with your healthcare organization such as the appointment scheduling, wait time, and the doctor’s communication skills and professionalism gives you an in-depth view into the patient’s experience. You can use this data to compare the quality of care that your patients are receiving versus what quality of care you aim to provide.
Healthcare providers typically have a very short window of time to connect with their patients and assess how they felt about their experience. Was the patient satisfied with your care? Did the patient face any difficulties while trying to make an appointment with you? Establishing a patient feedback system means that you will be able to step back and assess your performance and use it to improve the services that you and your organization provide.
Enhances patient retention
Collecting patient feedback on doctors is a fantastic tool to ensure that your organization can retain your patients and subsequent revenue.
Patients who are satisfied with your experience will stay with you but unsatisfied patients will find another doctor to go to. However, your goal should always be to ensure maximum patient retention rates. Asking patients specific questions through patient feedback on doctors allows you to be better equipped to understand what patients like and what they don’t like. This gives you information to customize any returning patient’s care based on their feedback on a previous episode of care.
Analyzing patient feedback on doctors allows you to identify any potential gaps within your services and address issues with your office and medical staff. By acting upon your patient’s feedback, you’re showing how essential your patients are to you.
Helps measure staff performance
Obtaining patient feedback is one of the best ways of assessing your support team’s performance and helping them find ways of improving it. Since your administration and patient support staff are the first lines of communication between a patient and your healthcare organization, they play an integral role in how your patients perceive your services. Sharing patient feedback with your support team will allow them to identify gaps in your services and implement corrective measures accordingly.
Shows you how you stack up
Active solicitation of patient feedback on doctors helps you understand where your practice stands in comparison to your competition. You can analyze your patient feedback data to get a patient satisfaction rating and compare your ratings against other practices. Feedback can also be used as a benchmark that you can use to compare your practice’s performance over time. This will help you to always strive for better ways of improving your patients’ experience.
The bottom line
As providers face an increasing amount of competition, the healthcare space is becoming increasingly complex. Insurance payers are constantly looking to reduce costs and increase revenue. This puts pressure on healthcare providers to find ways to procuring and retaining patients, and patient feedback on doctors is the key to achieving this.
Your patients’ opinions can empower your practice in several different ways such as you can enhance patient retention, measure patient satisfaction, compare yourself to your competition, and also boost patient engagement. Patient feedback on doctors provides insights on how your patients perceive your services, which in turn helps you find opportunities to improve your services and make data-driven decisions that can take your practice to the next level of success.