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How to collect patient feedback beyond paper and phone surveys

The rise of digital technologies in the consumer space has directly—and significantly—impacted the healthcare industry. Today, it’s impossible to ignore digital technology’s importance in the patient journey. Patients turn to the web to learn about hospitals, healthcare providers, treatment options, etc. Then, they often rate and review their experiences online for others to learn from.

Driven by the consumer experience in other industries, patients have higher expectations for an easy, friction-free, end-to-end patient experience. Collecting patient feedback digitally—via online survey, QR code, social media, and more—is not only an important way to get information through the channels they already use, but it also casts a wider net and helps healthcare organizations collect more data, faster, and more efficiently, beyond the episode of care.

While traditional post-visit or post-discharge surveys provide a wealth of knowledge about the patient experience, digital listening strategies can enhance and further our patient insights. They also help you keep your ear to the ground to glean real-time data about very specific touchpoints.

5 key channels for collecting patient feedback across the digital patient journey

Digitalizing feedback collection helps you reach more patients, boost response rates, and capture information from a more representative sample of your patient populations.

1. Web surveys: Digitalize your paper surveys to collect patient feedback electronically, via email or text delivery. Make sure your surveys are optimized for mobile: Text messaging is one of the most effective channels for communicating with patients. Text messaging click-through rates are more than 10x higher than email click-through rates, and 89% of consumers want to use messaging to communicate with businesses. When Press Ganey clients supplement email surveys with text delivery, response rates jump by 23%—with 82% returned via mobile device.

2. Review sites and online directories: Online patient reviews are a gold mine of PX insights. Patients are more than willing to offer up their input: 50% have reviewed a healthcare experience on the web (interestingly, this number is even higher among baby boomers). Embrace online reviews as opportunities to listen and learn. Monitor and respond to feedback on third-party directories and healthcare review sites like Google Business Profiles (previously Google My Business), Healthgrades, and Vitals. Healthcare review sites are key digital patient engagement tools and allow you to collect patient feedback in real time or near-real time. Responding to reviews shows current and prospective patients one very important thing: that you’re listening and their feedback matters.

Making it a routine to read and respond to your online reviews can drive patient acquisition—fix a problem quickly, and prospective patients will notice. And with Press Ganey’s Review Publishing, you can easily convert the PX surveys you already use into verified patient reviews across the web.

Online reviews are a body of data and research—a real-time focus group. If people adhere to and utilize feedback and comments to do better, they will do better. The hospital reputation grows, the physician reputation grows, the patients come, and you build your business.”

Ken Szydlow
Chief Marketing Officer, St. Luke’s University Health Network 

3. Social media: Keep an eye out for mentions of your organization on social media platforms, from Facebook to Twitter, Instagram to TikTok, and to any other place your patients are active. Social media posts can get a tremendous amount of traction quickly. By monitoring social platforms for your organization, you stay up to date on what your patients say online and gain insight into critical conversations. Monitoring the conversation on social media positions your organization to address issues ASAP and provide real-time service recovery.

4. On-location QR codes: QR codes had gained significant traction prior to 2020, and the pandemic launched them into the mainstream, cementing their spot in everyday life. Healthcare organizations can capitalize on this movement. Scannable QR codes are an easy way to assess patient feedback based on location, instantly gauge patient satisfaction in physical facilities, and provide actionable data to work with. Take the pulse of what’s happening in waiting rooms, cafeterias, parking lots, or any other on-site location where you can display a QR code. Now that QR codes have reached mass adoption, they’re a low-lift way to collect information.

5. Website intercept surveys: You don’t need your patient’s email address or mobile phone number to deliver a survey; use website intercepts—also called pop-up surveys—to get digital patient feedback when a patient is on your website or interacting with your app. These surveys are highly targeted and can be located on any proprietary domain. By controlling which pages pop-up surveys appear on, you capture significant data on how patients feel—and what they’re thinking—when engaging with specific content. Digital experience management helps you accurately profile your audience and learn how you can improve each patient’s experience.

Learning what patients want and need lets you deliver a better care experience. Digitalizing how you collect patient feedback lets you do this with increased ease, across the patient journey.

Digitalization also allows you to further segment data, leading to rich, meaningful insights into the patient experience. And then we can use this information to better understand the experience of specific populations.

Want to explore this topic further? We'd love to chat—reach out to a patient feedback expert here.

About the author

Press Ganey, a leading healthcare performance improvement solutions company, offers an integrated suite of solutions that put Human Experience at the center of healthcare enterprise transformation. Delivered through a cutting-edge digital platform built on a foundation of data security, Press Ganey solutions address patient experience, healthcare consumer experience, workforce engagement, safety, clinical excellence and more. Guided by its team of renowned healthcare thought leaders, Press Ganey works with more than 41,000 healthcare facilities to reduce patient suffering, enhance caregiver resilience and improve the overall safety, quality and experience of care. Press Ganey is a PG Forsta company.

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