This article was featured in the latest edition of the RMS Healthcare Newsletter, The Quality Care Courier in September of 2012.

As a practice committed to ensuring your patients overall satisfaction with their experience, you want to obtain valuable and timely feedback. The next step is determining what to do with the data? Second to administering the survey tool, the most important step is to review the results and take action to improve where opportunities are present.

As a practice, you will want everyone engaged in this process of reviewing data. It is suggested that you review responses, consider causes for any low ratings as well as corrective actions to increase undesirable ratings in the future then implement changes. The Center for Practice Improvement & Innovation offers a tip book on how to improve patient perceptions. An example from the publication is featured below:

Your patients have given you a low rating for Survey Question 1 (When I called the office for an appointment, the length of time before the telephone was answered). 

Possible reasons for a low rating include: an inadequate number of telephone lines to handle the volume of calls to the practice; insufficient staff assigned to answer telephones; telephones not readily accessible to staff; unclear policies regarding the expectations for answering the telephones; and insufficient directions to patients on how to access the practice.

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If you score low on this question, you probably need to review some of your basic office operations including your telephone systems. Here are some considerations for corrective action:

  • Make sure your telephone system has sufficient capacity to handle the volume of calls;
  • Review the way staff is assigned to answer telephones and whether there is enough staff assigned to accommodate the volume of calls;
  • Make telephones easily accessible for staff;
  • Set standards and procedures for answering telephones;
  • Educate patients about when to call;
  • Use the full capacity of your existing telephone system before investing in more features.

This is just one example from the Patient Satisfaction Tip Book, Improving Patient Perceptions. For the full booklet which offers tips, causes and corrective actions as well as suggested reading and resources to improve patient satisfaction ratings visit: