Dec 10, 2020 3:19:39 AM Benjamin Pure

Top 10 Questions You Must Ask Patients to Improve Your Healthcare Business

There's always room for improvement.  This idea applies to new practices, seasoned healthcare facilities and everything in between. Conducting a survey is an efficient method of identifying issues and collecting solid first-hand data on various aspects of your services. There is only one caveat: you need to know what questions to ask.

Here are the top 10 questions that will help you gain essential insight into your patients perspective along with handy tips on how to leverage that knowledge.

#1 How did you learn about our facility?

Effective advertising is a base for any successful business. Between social media, websites, blogs, newsletters, handouts, and all other communication channels available, keeping track of the ones that drive the most patients can be difficult.

Asking this question will give you quantitative data you’ll be able to draw on in two ways. First, you’ll learn which channels need to be looked into. Second, you’ll determine which ones you should maximize to reach more potential patients.

#2 How old are you?

Patients’ age is as strictly connected to their health as it is to their preferences. For example, 85% of people born between 1928 and 1945 have a primary care doctor, as opposed to 55% of Gen Z patients. When we look at patient expectations, only 29% of Baby Boomers look for easy access to test results, whereas this is an important influencing factor for 44% Millenials choosing their medical provider (Source: Accenture).  

Thus, asking this basic question will tell you more about who your patients generally are. Based on that knowledge, you’ll be able to identify their needs and adjust your practice accordingly. Moreover, you'll also understand better who your patients aren’t.  This is particularly important for less specialized facilities that aim
to attract patients of all generations.

#3 How would you rate the registration process?

Unsurprisingly, more than 90% of patients  state that patient experience is important, and for 59%, it is ‘extremely important.’ In most cases, this experience starts with scheduling a visit, which is why it is crucial
to streamline the registration process as much as possible. 

While you may think your website is informative and phone scheduling is easy, your patients may think otherwise. Increase accessibility in areas that receive subpar ratings to improve the patient experience.

#4 Did you find customer service satisfactory?

It is important to remember that frontline workers are the most immediate representatives of your business.
For that reason, ensuring professional and helpful customer service is an absolute must. Patients should be provided with all the necessary information when they connect with your practice online, via phone or in your facility. Is the phone answering service efficient enough? Do you send your patients to voicemail?  Is your front desk staff too busy to help every client? Is your staff welcoming and willing to help? These are questions all practices should be thinking about and asking your patients will help you understand how your doing. 

#5 How long did you wait for your appointment past the scheduled time?

No one likes wasting time, especially when waiting for a medical procedure. Calculate the average wait time and try to reduce it to a minimum. The easier way to achieve this is by scheduling fewer visits — while at first, this solution may seem ineffective, it will ultimately lead to superior patient experience. Other ideas include optimizing the scheduling system or even hiring more staff.

#6 How would you rate the appearance and cleanliness of the facility?

It’s unjust to judge a book by its cover. When it comes to medical facilities, however, the overall appearance — cleanliness in particular — can be a good indicator of quality. This applies not only to the doctor’s office itself,
but also to the reception, restrooms, or waiting rooms. Addressing any shortcomings in those areas will result
in increased patient satisfaction and trust.

#7 Are you satisfied with the cost of the service?

66% of patients quote price as the most important consideration influencing their healthcare choices. Gauge your patients’ opinions on the cost of your services to see if you need to think about lowering the prices. As tough
as this decision may be, it may help you attract new patients while increasing the loyalty of the existing ones. 

You can also balance out the price reduction by cutting unnecessary costs. If you can’t afford to offer cheaper services, make sure to inform your patients about the exact costs in a clear and understandable manner. They will surely appreciate the transparency

#8 Did you previously use other healthcare providers? If you did, why did you decide to leave?

It’s always better to learn from someone else’s mistakes than to make them yourself. Study the factors that made your patients leave their previous healthcare providers. If some of them consistently show up in the answers, make sure that you’re not going down the same road. As an added benefit, you can share that info with the provider
in question to establish partnership and help your peers improve, too.

#9 What would you like to see us change or improve?

Let patients share additional comments on issues that were not covered by other questions. Responding to this one requires the most effort, so don’t expect everyone to contribute. Still, the feedback provided by this one
is more likely to include more details and to touch on more specific pain points.

#10 Would you recommend our services to a friend or family member?

Do you know how to easily tell a good healthcare facility from an outstanding one? Patients leave a good healthcare facility satisfied and move on with their day. An outstanding facility exceeds patient's expectations to the point where they recommend it to those they care about the most. It’s the ultimate sign of trust, something every healthcare provider should aspire to achieve. If your business is not yet on that level, there are certain areas that require your attention. One of the easiest ways to determine how your practice stacks up, is by simply asking!

Wrapping up

 Patient’s interest is at the heart of the entire medical industry. Consequently, it is only natural that people
who visit your facility should have their say in shaping healthcare. Tracking patient sentiment will assist you
in building a prosperous and purposeful business. It all starts with a question!