One of our core services we offer here at Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) in Syracuse, NY, is patient satisfaction research or patient satisfaction surveying.  In addition to being an approved HCAHPS®and HH-CAHPS® vendor, RMS also works with other healthcare providers to conduct other satisfaction research.  Here is our 3rd blog post in our series of case studies.

Background: RMS was engaged to conduct patient satisfaction work with a client’s patients visiting their facilities each month.  The focus of the market research was to benchmark and continually monitor patient satisfaction for the practice.  The survey was designed to gather feedback on different functional areas within the practice including appointments, staff, and service related items.  It also obtained an overall satisfaction score for their most recent visit.  From the research, the practice tracks their patient’s experiences, makes necessary appointment and staffing improvements, and assesses their  facilities on an ongoing basis.


Methodology: In order to create a benchmark of satisfaction for each measure, RMS started with a telephone survey to collect a statistically significant sample of patients (approximately 400).  The same survey script was used in monthly surveying to a sample of patients from a list delivered by the client at the beginning of each month.  Based on a response rate of about 30-40% for the mailed surveys, RMS receives approximately 50-60 surveys back each month to analyze.  The data is then compared to the benchmark measures and also month to month.  Patients are given the option of completing the survey online.  By creating a unique patient ID embedded into the survey RMS analyzes all patient demographics (time of last visit, date of first visit, gender, age, facility, etc.) on the back-end for reporting.


Findings: The following are a few bullet points of some initial findings from the research:

  • Service factors regarding appointments all saw increases of at least 4 percentage points, some increasing as much as 8-9 percentage points, since the initial benchmark.  Two specific service factors that both saw increases of 9% were the ease of making appointments over the phone (access) and the friendliness of the people spoken to on the phone (staff). The client instituted changes after the benchmark survey specifically related to these factors, which resulted in higher satisfaction.
  • The one service factor that saw a decrease in the second half of the year was the availability of educational and/or informational materials. Having the verbatim comments about dissatisfaction revealed that because patients know that the practice provides a good deal of materials, they were expecting/requesting that the information be refreshed and/or updated on a more frequent basis.


Results: The clients use the data regularly to share it with management, providers and staff.  The client uses the verbatim comments about dissatisfaction and any general comments to brainstorm process changes.  Therefore the practice is looking into gathering emails from patients during this calendar year and using these emails to keep in contact with patients and provide electronic access to the survey.  With some issues around staff and appointment scheduling, the practice will soon be conducting employee satisfaction surveying to provide some more insight.

What’s described above is just one of the many healthcare related measurement studies we do for our clients.  Interested in conducting a similar patient satisfaction survey to the one described in this case study above?  Contact the RMS Business Development team at 1-866-567-5422.