5 Key Considerations for Creating and Distributing Patient Satisfaction Surveys

Ambulatory surgery centers can utilize patient satisfaction surveys as a springboard for process improvement. As such, patient satisfactions surveys should not be created or distributed haphazardly but rather strategically crafted in a cost-effective way. Parth Zaveri, administrator at Endoscopy Center of St. Louis, discusses five steps his ASC took to receive a high response rate with just pennies on the dollar.

1. Save money on postage. One of the first steps Endoscopy Center of St. Louis took was to open a business account to save money on postage. Mailing patient satisfaction surveys could potentially be an expensive ordeal, so finding creative ways to save on small items can reap huge savings in the end.

"By opening a business account, we saved almost $6,000 annually just in postage," Mr. Zaveri says. "There's the alternative of sending surveys to just a small group of patients, but our physicians wanted to survey every patient."

2. Make it easy on the patient. The Endoscopy Center of St. Louis receives approximately 50 percent of all patient satisfaction surveys back from patients, and Mr. Zaveri attributes this high response rate to the way the patient satisfaction survey is presented and distributed. While many of the survey questions were phrased in a "Yes or No" format, there was still some open-ended questions and enough room to provide a few personal comment.

"We want to make it as easy as possible for our patients to fill out our survey and return them, and another way we achieve that is by printing the survey on a small postcard and self-addressing it back to our center," Mr. Zaveri says. "Because it is laid out on a postcard, patients don't have to fill out very much information.

3. Express your appreciation to patients. Patients who visit The Endoscopy Center of St. Louis receive a patient satisfaction survey that has a short "Thank You" note and a picture of the physician.

"Our patients really appreciate the personal attention they get at our center and relate better to a picture of their physician rather than just their name," Mr. Zaveri says.

4. Charge the receptionist with passing out surveys. In addition to mailing patient satisfaction surveys, the receptionist at The Endoscopy Center of St. Louis is charged with personally handing out the surveys and reminding patients to mail the cards back after their procedure.

5. Protect patient identity. To use the patient satisfaction surveys in a more meaningful manner, the surveys are marked with a unique identification number to help the endoscopy center take corrective action and provide feedback to patients.

"We record an ID number on the patient satisfaction surveys because this way, they can retain anonymity but still be interactive in their survey responses and feel like their concerns are being addressed," Mr. Zaveri says.

Learn more about Endoscopy Center of St. Louis.

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