Quality Control

How to Set Up an Effective Patient Feedback System

A robust patient feedback system is a must-have for healthcare providers that want to improve care quality and patient satisfaction. Here's how to set it up.
May 6, 2024
6 min

Patient feedback is the key to tracking and improving patient experience. A robust system for gathering and evaluating this feedback is a must-have for healthcare organizations that want to improve care quality and patient satisfaction. 

This article will explore effective strategies and best practices for setting up an effective patient feedback system.

What is a patient feedback system?

The term ‘patient feedback system’ can be understood in two distinct ways:

  1. A set of organizational processes designed to systematically collect and analyze patient feedback. Often used when most of the process is done manually.
  2. A software solution that helps healthcare practices simplify and automate feedback collection and analysis.

The primary goal of any patient feedback system is to capture patient experiences and satisfaction, providing actionable data for healthcare organizations. 

Predominantly used by clinics, hospitals, and social care services, patient feedback systems enable these providers to remain responsive to patient needs and expectations, enhancing their overall experience and health outcomes.

The advantages of a digitizing patient feedback management

Here are the key advantages of adopting a digital-first approach to patient feedback management:

  • Real-time detractor alerts: With a digital feedback system like InsiderCX, we can send you an alert immediately upon recording negative feedback. This allows healthcare providers to quickly address the issue before the patient switches providers.
  • Enhanced data accuracy: Collecting feedback in a digital form reduces human error and ensures consistency in how it is gathered and recorded — resulting in more complete and reliable data.
  • Streamlined data analysis: Digital tools often come with analytics capabilities, making it easier to derive insights from large volumes of feedback data. This can help in spotting trends, benchmarking performance, and making more informed decisions.
  • Increased patient engagement: Digital platforms can offer more interactive and accessible ways for patients to provide feedback, potentially increasing engagement rates and giving providers a fuller picture of the patient experience.
  • Scalability: As healthcare organizations grow, digital patient feedback systems can easily accommodate increased volumes with little to no additional administrative work.
  • Better resource allocation: By automating the tedious and time-consuming side of data collection and analysis, staff can focus on what matters most  — improving processes and providing better care.
  • Compliance and security: Digital systems ensure that patient data is collected, stored, and managed in compliance with relevant privacy regulations — such as HIPAA in the US, or DPA and NHS in the UK.

All of these advantages get more pronounced the more patients you have. For reference, we work with healthcare organizations that have at least 400 patient visits per month. If you have less than that, you don’t really need a dedicated feedback software.  

Steps for implementing an effective patient feedback system 

Implementing an effective patient feedback system starts with a thorough assessment of the current state of your feedback processes. From whatever is there, you build upon it by introducing the right tools and procedures.

A list of steps healthcare providers can follow to implement an effective patient feedback system.

1. Assess the current state of your feedback systems

Before you start making changes, you first need to look at existing processes and evaluate how effective and efficient you are at capturing, analyzing, and responding to patient insights.

To help with this assessment, use the following checklist:

  • Do you proactively collect patient feedback? Proactively seeking feedback from patients can lead to more timely and relevant insights. This approach helps address concerns before they escalate.
  • Do you analyze the feedback received? Simply collecting feedback is not enough. Regular analysis helps you spot trends and benchmark performance between different doctors, services, and locations.
  • Is there a dedicated team or individual responsible for feedback management? Having a dedicated person for feedback management ensures that the process is systematic and that feedback does not go unnoticed. 
  • How much time per week do you spend on collecting and managing feedback? If this is measured in hours, it indicates inefficiency in your current system.
  • How fast can you reach out to dissatisfied patients? Being able to quickly identify and reach out to dissatisfied patients can prevent minor issues from becoming major grievances.
  • Can you measure response rates? Low response rates to your feedback surveys suggest a need for a more engaging approach or a new collection method. 
  • Can you track completion rates? Completion rates show how many patients that opened your feedback survey actually completed it. High dropout rates usually mean you need to simplify the process by asking fewer, more straightforward questions.   

To speed up this process, take our free feedback management assessment quiz.

2. Choose the feedback collection methods you will use

There are numerous ways to gather feedback, each with its own set of pros and cons.

A table comparing common patient feedback collection methods.

While traditional methods like in-person surveys and feedback boxes still hold value, digital methods have become increasingly popular due to their efficiency and ease of use. For a more detailed comparison, check out our guide on collecting patient feedback

In general, older patients prefer giving feedback in-person or through traditional paper forms, while younger people are more responsive to digital surveys. 

Depending on your patient demographics, you might need to segment patients into different groups and use separate collection methods.

3. Decide what you want to measure 

Selecting what aspects of patient care to measure directly influences the questions included in your surveys. Clinics typically focus on measuring general feedback and overall satisfaction, including satisfaction with specific processes such as wait times, staff professionalism, and treatment effectiveness. 

If you want to evaluate the whole patient journey, it’s better to send multiple surveys at different stages. For example, Optical Express used InsiderCX to create and send white label satisfaction surveys after initial exams, after the surgery, and after follow-up care. This way, they’ve got comprehensive insights that lead to process improvements and a 23% month-on-month increase in their Net Promoter Score (NPS).  

Deciding what you want to measure will serve as your guideposts. It will help you decide which questions to include in order to get the most relevant and actionable insights.

4. Set up the equipment, tools, and surveys 

How this step is going to look like for your clinic will depend on the feedback collection methods you chose to use:

  • If you’re going digital and need to scale, you’ll need to test and set up a dedicated feedback collection software or patient experience platform.
  • If you go with paper surveys and comment boxes, you’ll need to buy and install comment boxes, decide when and how to give patients surveys, etc.
  • If you go with feedback kiosks, you’ll need to buy and install them at strategic places and think about how to entice patients to use them. 
  • And so on, you get the jist.

When writing surveys, whether digital or paper, it’s important to keep questions clear, concise, and relevant to the aspects you’re measuring. We have an in-depth guide on which questions to include and best practices for creating patient satisfaction surveys if you want to learn more.

5. Implement processes for promptly reacting to negative feedback

All of the above can quickly become useless if you don’t have effective processes for quickly addressing negative feedback. Best practices here include: 

  • Setting up real-time alerts for negative responses
  • Having a designated person that will address the issue or can instruct someone else to take necessary action
  • A simple document that outlines how to address common complaints, when a complaint does and does not require an action, templates with pre-written messages that can be quickly adjusted and personalized, etc.

Now, the most important part is being able to quickly spot and address the issue. When you’re using InsiderCX to collect feedback, you get an automatic detractor alert whenever a patient leaves negative feedback.

Example of a detractor alert inside InsiderCX patient feedback platform.
An example of a detractor alert inside InsiderCX.

This feature helped clinics react on time and stop hundreds of patients from switching providers.  

6. Define how you will analyze and act on collected feedback

Analyzing and acting on the feedback you collect involves:

  • Regular review: Set a regular schedule for reviewing feedback, such as weekly or monthly, to keep current with patient sentiments.
  • Track metrics: Important metrics might include patient satisfaction scores, response rates, and specific comments related to staff or services.
  • Categorize feedback: Organize feedback by location, staff member, or service type to identify patterns and areas needing attention.
  • Dedicated personnel: Consider assigning a dedicated person or team to handle data analysis and follow-up actions.
  • Prioritize actionable insights: Focus on feedback that offers clear paths for improvement to maximize the impact of changes implemented.

Following these simple practices will ensure your patient feedback system is effective in gathering data and contributing to meaningful improvements in patient care and satisfaction.

Use InsiderCX as your patient feedback management system

By using a digital system like InsiderCX, clinics can automate their entire quality control process. First, we help you build effective patient surveys. Then, 24 to 48 after the visit, our system automatically sends an SMS, Viber, or WhatsApp message with the link to the survey to the patient.    

The captured responses are immediately analyzed and visualized inside our platform or forwarded to your existing healthcare software. You can track completion and response rates, receive automatic detractor alerts, and benchmark performance across locations, staff, and services.

If you’re searching for a better way to collect and manage patient insights, take the first step forward by reaching out to our team.

InsiderCX Editorial Team
This article was researched, written, polished, and published by the InsiderCX editorial team.

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