When you are in the healthcare industry, it is necessary that your patients are happy and satisfied with the treatment and medical care you provide them. To do this, it is essential to deliver great patient experiences to them.
Patient experience is the heartbeat of effective medical care and healthcare services. It encompasses a myriad of interactions and emotions that patients encounter from the point they step into your hospital or clinic until they go through their final follow-up appointment. So understanding patient experience is necessary to ensure good experiences to make your healthcare business a success!
In this article, we will explore what exactly patient experience is, its importance, how to measure and improve it, and some effective questions you can ask in your patient experience surveys. Let’s get started!
Patient experience is the sum of all interactions, patient perceptions and emotions that patients go through while getting medical treatment and care from a healthcare facility. It covers experiences at all touchpoints of the patient journey.
To improve patient experience, you should focus on aspects like smooth processes, less waiting time, clear communication, cleanliness & hygiene, empathy & courtesy for the patients, timely follow-ups, and gathering & taking action on patient feedback.
Patient experience surveys are the best way to collect and act on patients' feedback. You should choose your questions wisely to make your surveys effective.
Patient experience and engagement are distinct but correlated terms, the former focuses on the active participation of the patients in their healthcare decisions and treatment, whereas the latter focuses on the overall experiences of the patients to enhance patient satisfaction.
Excellent patient experience leads to various benefits for a hospital or healthcare centre - loyal patients, better medical outcomes, enhanced goodwill and reputation, new patients, fewer lawsuits, more revenue and growth.
Zonka Feedback is a powerful tool to measure and improve patient experience. It also offers a free trial for 7 days.
Measure Patient Experience and Satisfaction
Create your healthcare surveys and questionnaires to collect feedback from patients in real time.
What is Patient Experience?
Patient experience refers to the sum of all interactions, perceptions, and emotions that patients go through during their entire healthcare journey, starting from the initial contact with the healthcare provider to the final conclusion of their treatment.
Everything that patients go through while dealing with and getting treatment and care from the healthcare facility comes under patient experience and each touchpoint affects their overall experience. Patient experience includes:
Appointment booking experience
Waiting time for the appointment
Hospital admission process experience
Interactions with the doctors
Interactions with nurses and other medical staff
Courtesy showed by the doctor and other staff
Clear communication about medical instructions
Treatment and care
Stay at the hospital
Follow-ups and checkups
Food at the hospital cafeteria
Availability of medicines at the pharmacy
Pricing and billing of treatment and medicines
Assistance in getting the medical insurance claim
All these aspects constitute and affect the overall experience of the patients. Let’s review how you can measure and calculate patient experience.
How to Calculate Patient Experience?
Measuring patient experience means finding out how happy your patients are with their experience at your healthcare facility. The right way to find this out is to gather feedback from your patients and calculate patient satisfaction score.
Patient Feedback is the information about the patient’s perception and feelings regarding their experience of getting treatment and healthcare. This information is collected through patient experience surveys, the responses of which are used to measure patient satisfaction score.
Patient satisfaction score is the patient experience metric that represents the satisfaction levels of your patients with the overall treatment and healthcare received.
To calculate the patient satisfaction score,
Patient satisfaction surveys are used wherein patients are asked to rate their satisfaction levels on a 5-point rating scale.
The response rating options can be depicted in various ways such as 1 to 5 scores where 5 means maximum satisfaction and 1 means no satisfaction, adjectives from poor to Excellent, 5-star rating surveys, smiley surveys and more.
To calculate the patient satisfaction score, you need to find the CSAT by calculating the average of all the ratings. Here is the formula to calculate CSAT:
CSAT = Sum of all Ratings/Sum of Maximum Scores x 100
For instance, if you have 10 patients who responded to your survey and have given scores of 3, 5, 4, 5, 1, 2, 3, 5, 4, and 5. So your patient satisfaction score will be calculated as follows:
Patient Satisfaction Score = (3+5+4+5+4+2+3+5+4+5)/50 x 100
= 40/50 x 100
In this way, you can easily calculate patient satisfaction scores and measure patient experience. The ideal way is to use an effective patient feedback software for this purpose that lets you easily create and share patient surveys, collect feedback, and measure patient experience.
How to Improve Patient Experience?
Here are some ways to improve patient experience.
1. Gather patients' insights about their experiences
The first step to improving patient experience is to know how patients feel about their experiences with the healthcare you provide them. For this, you need to develop a patient feedback system in your healthcare facility.
A proper feedback mechanism built by deploying a good patient experience app or software can serve this purpose. Leverage voice of customer methodology and create patient surveys to share them with your patients at various touchpoints of their healthcare journey. Collect feedback from your inpatients and outpatients about various relevant aspects.
From inpatients, collect feedback about aspects like the hospital admission process, doctor interactions, diagnosis, cleanliness, food, pharmacy, medication, health care quality, staff support, billing and medical insurance process.
From outpatients, collect feedback about aspects like the appointment booking process, waiting time, doctor interaction, diagnosis, pharmacy and medicines.
Gathering patients’ insights about their experiences will not only help you improve their experiences but will also convey that you care about their opinions and are committed to providing them with patient centered care and healthcare facilities.
2. Make your processes smoother
Remember that the patients are also suffering due to illness and complex processes add to their sufferings. So always encourage simple processes to make it smoother for the patients to get treated at your hospital or health care centre.
Develop an easy appointment booking process. Enable appointment booking through phone as well as online channels like website and app.
The process of admitting a patient to your hospital should be easy and your staff should support the patients and their family members in every possible way.
The billing and payment process should be smooth and enough payment options should be available for the patients.
Provide good assistance to the patients to help them claim their medical insurance.
3. Reduce waiting time
Waiting time is another important factor that can make or break patient experience. For this, you need to streamline your appointment booking process and make sure that the appointment timings are as accurate as possible so that no patients have to wait for long for their consultation.
4. Ensure effective and clear communication with the doctors
Clear and robust communication is necessary to take quality care of the patients and ensure that patients follow all instructions given by the doctor. Encourage your doctors to explain well to the patients about their diagnosis, health condition, treatment plan, medicine course, and all medical instructions. Encourage more written communication which would be easier for both patients and doctors to track the treatment course.
5. Ensure cleanliness and hygiene
Cleanliness and hygiene are crucial factors that not only affect patient experience but also the well-being of the patients. So always ensure that your hospital or clinic premises are clean, sanitized, and well-maintained. Ensure that the best practices for hygiene and preventing infections are followed by everybody in the healthcare system and train your staff well about these aspects and practices.
6. Treat patients with empathy, kindness, and respect
Empathy is paramount in healthcare; it shows that you value the patient as a person and are committed to their well-being. When patients feel that they are being treated with kindness, empathy, and respect, it leads to better experiences as well as better clinical outcomes for the patient’s health.
7. Provide timely follow-up and communication
Follow-up and communication after treatment allow you to monitor patient progress and identify any problems or issues that may arise. This can help ensure that patients receive the necessary support and care to recover fully.
Timely follow-up also prevents the risk of recurrence of the illness and at the same time shows your commitment to end-to-end patient care and wellness.
8. Ensure Patient Safety
Patient safety is also a crucial component of patient experience. Everybody wants to stay only in a safe place, and when it comes to patients, it is necessary that they feel safe while reaching your hospital or clinic, as well as in staying for treatment. Choose a suitable location for your healthcare centre where nobody feels unsafe to visit.
Also ensure patient safety for the inpatients from hazards like fire, electric components and short circuits, animals, and other unwanted elements that may harm the peace and safety of your patients.
9. Avoid unnecessary tests and patient expenditure
Some healthcare providers encourage recommending more and more tests with no-so-good reasons. It not only affects the finances of the patients but also the increased expenditure gives them added stress which again affects their health and overall well-being. Moreover, it shows that the doctors are not good with diagnosis, and ultimately affects your healthcare business in the long run.
So always follow the best practices of healthcare and follow the approach of fair pricing of medicines, procedures, and medical tests. This may sound less profiteering for the business at the moment but patients notice these aspects and when they recommend your brand to others, it will benefit you in the long run in the form of a good reputation in the industry and more patients will prefer your healthcare services.
Let’s explore some questions that you can ask in your patient surveys to collect valuable feedback from your patients and be able to build better patient experiences.
Some Effective Patient Experience Survey Questions
In order to fetch valuable patient experience data to assess patient experience, you need to create powerful patient surveys. Questions are the core of any survey. So we are providing here some effective survey questions that you can use in your patient experience survey to gather useful patient insights about their experiences with your healthcare facility.
Patient Experience Questions for Outpatients
The patients who come for consultation, get treatment and return on the same day are known as outpatients. Here are some questions that you can ask in your surveys for outpatients.
- How would you rate the process of booking an appointment with our doctor?
- How would you rate the accessibility of the location of our clinic?
- How would you rate your recent interaction with the doctor?
- How satisfied are you with the diagnosis made by the doctor?
- How satisfied are you with the medication and treatment provided to you?
- How was your experience with our staff?
- How would you rate the accuracy of the appointment timings?
- How would you rate the cleanliness and hygiene of our clinic?
- How would you rate your overall experience with our healthcare facilities and services?
- Would you like to share any special experience of getting consultation and treatment at our clinic?
Here is an outpatient feedback template that you can use to gather feedback from your outpatients.
Patient Experience Questions for Inpatients
The patients who get admitted to the hospital or healthcare centre to get treatment and healthcare are known as inpatients. Here are some survey questions that you can ask from your inpatients.
- How would you rate your experience of getting admitted to the hospital?
- How satisfied are you with your recent interaction with the doctor?
- How was your experience of the stay at this hospital?
- How would you rate the health care quality during your stay at the hospital?
- How would you rate your experience with our nurses and other hospital staff?
- How would you rate the cleanliness of the hospital?
- How would you rate the quality of the food provided during the treatment?
- How satisfied are you with the food provided in the hospital cafeteria?
- How was your experience at the hospital pharmacy?
- How would you rate the process of discharge from the hospital?
- Did you get enough assistance from our staff to get your medical insurance claim?
- How would you rate the billing and payment process of the hospital?
- How would you rate your overall experience of getting treatment and healthcare at the hospital?
- Would you like to share any special experiences during your treatment and stay at the hospital? (open-ended question)
Here is an inpatient feedback template that you can use to create an inpatient experience survey.
Net Promoter Score Survey Question
Here is the main NPS survey question which is also known as the Ultimate Question.
Based on your experience with our healthcare services, how likely are you to recommend our healthcare facility to your friends and known ones on a scale of 0 to 10 where 0 means Not at all likely, whereas 10 means most likely to recommend?
This question is also followed up by another question which asks the reason for the patient's rating.
Would you please tell us the reason for your rating? (open-ended follow-up question)
An effective patient experience survey with powerful questions not only helps you collect feedback from the patients but also helps to enhance patients' satisfaction and engagement. Let’s understand the difference between patient experience and engagement.
Patient Engagement vs Patient Experience
Patient experience and patient engagement are two crucial components of healthcare, each playing a distinct role. At the same time, both are interrelated and affect each other. Patient experience covers the entire patient journey with the health care organizations starting from contacting the organization first, focusing on all aspects and interactions with doctors & other staff, and continuing till the last follow-up with the doctor or the organization.
On the other hand, patient engagement refers to the active involvement of patients in their healthcare decisions, treatment plans, and ongoing management of their health. It encourages patients to be informed, motivated, and empowered participants in their own care.
Here are some aspects that will help you understand the relationship and difference between both the terms.
Focus - Patient engagement specifically focuses on the active involvement of patients and their family members in healthcare decisions, ongoing treatment, medication, medical instructions provided by the doctors and management of their health conditions. Whereas patient experience focuses on all aspects that affect the satisfaction of the patients and what patients go through during their entire healthcare journey including aspects like patients’ interactions, emotions, healthcare providers’ empathy & courtesy towards patients, and providing healthcare facilities and patient centered care thereby ensuring the satisfaction of the patients.
Scope - The scope of patient engagement is limited and revolves around patients’ involvement in their healthcare. Whereas, patient experience has a broader scope and covers all the aspects in totality that patients go through and interact with while getting treatment and care from healthcare organizations.
Relationship - Patient engagement is a component of patient experience. When patients are actively engaged in their care, it often leads to a more positive patient experience. Engaged patients are more likely to have a sense of control and partnership in their healthcare journey, which can enhance their overall satisfaction.
Outcomes - The outcome of patient engagement is typically improved patient self-management, increased health literacy, and improved health outcomes, as engaged patients are more likely to actively participate in their care. On the other hand, the outcome of a positive patient experience is often increased patient loyalty & satisfaction, better patient retention, trust in the healthcare system, and recommendations to new patients.
Both patient experience and engagement are important in the healthcare industry to ensure the satisfaction of the patients and grow your business. Let’s explore how the overall patient experience is important in hospitals.
Importance of Patient Experience in Hospitals
When you are running a hospital, focusing on the overall patient experience is essential to ensure patients' satisfaction and create a base of loyal patients. Improving and building great patient experiences helps you derive various benefits for your hospital and healthcare business. Let’s learn what you can achieve by focusing on patient experience.
More Loyal Patients - In today’s hyper-competitive healthcare environment, there is no dearth of options for patients. One poor experience can lead to your patients switching to other healthcare organizations. But when you successfully build great experiences, your patients not only continue a lasting relationship but also recommend their friends and known ones to visit your hospital for any ailments.
Better Health Outcomes - Good patient experiences are essential for both the patient and the healthcare providers. It not only helps you satisfy the patients but also adds a catalyst to their speedy recovery and better health outcomes. When patients get good support and quality care from your doctors and other hospital staff, it heals them mentally which has a positive effect on their health, well-being and recovery
Enhanced Reputation and Goodwill in the Industry - By delivering comprehensive care quality and patient experiences, you can build patients’ trust in your hospital and create a good image in their minds about your healthcare brand. This ultimately spreads through word-of-mouth and online reviews, which ultimately enhances the reputation and goodwill of your hospital.
Attracts New Patients - Patients share their experiences through word-of-mouth as well as online reviews and around 71% of the patients trust online reviews to find and try new doctors or healthcare organizations. Similarly, most patients trust personal recommendations from their family and friends when deciding to choose a hospital. Excellent patient experiences create positive reviews and recommendations for your hospital which ultimately attracts more new patients into your business.
Fewer Lawsuits - Poor experiences, wrong diagnoses and failed treatment plans sometimes lead to lawsuits and court cases for the doctors and hospitals. But if you deliver excellent patient experiences and patient centered care, it shows that you genuinely want to treat the patient in the best possible way. This results in fewer lawsuits even after unfavourable clinical outcomes.
More Profit and Revenue - Excellent patient experiences help you enhance patient loyalty and satisfaction, attract new patients and build a great image in the industry. All this contributes to the growth of your hospital. Moreover, patients nowadays are ready to pay more for a better experience. Therefore, good patient experiences ultimately help you gain more profit and revenue, and grow your healthcare business.
Patient experience plays a crucial role in the success of healthcare organizations. Excellent patient experience creates loyal patients with long-lasting relationships, whereas poor experiences lead to patient churn and bad reputations through lousy word-of-mouth. In order to assess patient experience, you need to collect feedback from your patients.
With the help of good patient experience software, you can create effective patient experience surveys and share them with your patients through multiple channels. Feedback helps you measure and improve patients' satisfaction and their overall experience.
Zonka Feedback is one such software that not only enables you to gauge patient experience but also to take action on feedback to close the feedback loop and improve patient experience and satisfaction.
It also offers a free trial. You can try Zonka Feedback for free for 7 days and see how it works for your healthcare organization and take you towards the heights of success.