A 4 Step Approach to Capture & Use the Voice of the Patient
In the realm of healthcare, understanding the needs, perceptions, and satisfaction of patients is crucial for providing not only quality care, but an experience that sets your clinic apart. Capturing, and most importantly using the Voice of the Customer/Patient to shape experience delivery is an aspiration many healthcare providers hold, yet one that most find challenging to implement.
As Forbes contributor, Sachin H. Jain asks; How can healthcare organizations ensure that authentic patient voices permeate decision-making and strategy? How can they build genuine connections between their leaders and the patients they serve? Importantly, how can they truly gain a competitive advantage from insights achieved through engaging patients?
In this blog post, we will explore a simple 4 step approach to capture and effectively utilize the voice of the patient, ensuring a continuous feedback loop that drives exceptional patient experiences.
There’s an art to capturing feedback, and the secrets lie in survey length, timing and contents. Short surveys prove to be more effective than lengthy ones, with response rates often decreasing with the more questions you ask. Stick to one to three questions that focus on the nitty gritties. For example, you can use a streamlined customer experience metric like NPS, along with one to two follow up questions.
When it comes to timing, fresh is best. Research from Gartner found that feedback collected at the point-of-experience is 40% more accurate than feedback collected even a day later. However, healthcare providers with the most consistently awesome customer experiences not only ask for customer feedback while it’s hot, but on a long term basis too. The general cadence of recurring surveys is between 90 and 180 days. This longer time period allows for patients to make repeat visits, explore various treatments and build a more robust perception of your brand.
Finally, ensure your surveys are accessible and easy for your patients to engage with. Mobile access should be prioritized, with user-friendly interfaces that accommodate the diversity of devices patients may use.
Once the feedback is collected, categorizing it becomes the next critical step. By categorizing feedback, healthcare organizations can reveal trends and insights that help identify areas for improvement, both at a branch, team and individual staff level. For instance, categorizing feedback by branches and locations can pinpoint which facilities are excelling with high NPS scores and which ones might need more attention due to lower scores.
Leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) is another powerful tool for categorization. AI can sift through large volumes of patient feedback, identifying common themes and sentiments. For example, if many patients highlight strong communication but express concerns about timeliness, AI can categorize these common themes, providing actionable insights for improvement.
Connecting patient feedback to the staff responsible for the patient experience is often an overlooked but vital step. While many organizations collect feedback, the challenge lies in ensuring that frontline staff, who directly impact the patient experience, are aware of and engaged with this feedback. However, for many healthcare providers, feedback never leaves the boardroom.
To ensure that authentic patient voices permeate decision-making and strategy, you need to connect the feedback to patient-facing staff, preferably in real time. Creating a feedback loop that involves sharing positive comments and constructive criticism with frontline staff fosters a sense of accountability and continuous improvement. This connection ensures that staff understands the impact of their actions on the patient experience, motivating them to strive for excellence.
The real value of capturing the voice of the patient is in the actions taken based on that feedback. Using patient feedback to resolve dissatisfaction is important, but the ultimate goal is to prevent dissatisfaction in the first place. By identifying recurring trends and implementing proactive measures with your frontline team, healthcare organizations can create a more patient-centric environment.
Furthermore, using feedback to recognize and celebrate the achievements of patient-facing staff is a powerful culture-builder and motivator. Whether it’s a glowing NPS score or a heartwarming patient review, giving credit where credit is due boosts morale, productivity and creates a culture of patient-centered care.
In the pursuit of exceptional patient experiences, capturing and utilizing the voice of the patient is not just a checkbox; it's a strategic imperative. Through a 4 step approach encompassing capturing, categorizing, connecting, and using feedback, healthcare organizations can create a continuous feedback loop that drives meaningful improvements. By embracing this process, organizations not only enhance patient satisfaction but also cultivate a culture of excellence that sets them apart in the competitive landscape of healthcare.