Is your emergency department providing quality care, but you don’t have the surveys from satisfied patients to prove it? Low response rates can have a huge impact on an Emergency Departments’s bottom line. If you’re patients are satisfied, but not showing it, there are a few things you can do to increase the likelihood that your patients express their satisfaction.
1. Embrace Timely Technology
Have you ever received something in the mail, tucked it somewhere safe with the intent of returning to it in the near future only to completely forget about it? If it’s not a bill or a check, most of us will find that piece of mail months later with even less motivation to address it.
When it comes to boosting the response rate to patient surveys, timeliness is key. Being able to send patients their survey via email or text or remind them to fill out their survey is a great way to reach patients where they are — on their phone. According to the Pew Research Center, 68% of Americans have smartphones. Young people, especially, are on their phones 86% of 18 to 29-year olds own smartphones. And as technology and smartphones continue to permeate our lives, email and text will be the preferred method for many, no matter the age.
2. FedEx vs. USPS
But if you're sticking with paper surveys the way they are delivered plays a large part in whether or not they are completed and returned. Researchers have found that surveys sent overnight via FedEx with a follow-up phone call were completed at a significantly higher rate than those surveys sent through the U.S. Postal Service with a follow-up phone call. They found that delivering a survey via FedEx netted a 12% higher response rate over USPS. The timeliness FedEx is able to provide plays an important role, along with the increased sense of legitimacy a FedEx delivery gives to the patient survey.
3. Money Talks
If you want to boost patient survey response rate, consider making it worth your patients’ while with an incentive. The same researchers that did the FedEX study also found that patients who expected a financial reward ($20 in this study) were 15% more likely to fill out and return their survey.
The Bottom Line
So what would happen if you combined emails and texts, with FedEx and a $20 bill? Research shows that your response rate would more than double. But what if you don’t have the financial and time resources to offer incentives perform follow-up calls? A hospital’s best bet may be to focus on emails and texts to begin with.
Additionally, perhaps one of the most important thing to remember is that performance drives response rate. Those emergency departments providing exemplary care and service to their patients are typically the ones enjoying a high response to the surveys they administer.
If your patient survey response rate is low, one of your first steps can be to examine whether or not your ED is providing the quality of care to patients. If you need some ideas here’s is one of my posts on boosting patient satisfaction or I’d be happy to hop on the phone with you and learn the challenges you’re facing. Email me now to get started.
Hospital Impact: “Timely patient satisfaction surveys: No longer an option.”
Becker’s Hospital Review: "4 Strategies to Boost Hospitals’ HCAHPS Scores."
International Conference on Health Policy Statistics: “Intensive Efforts Can Drive Health Care
Survey Response Rates Over 50%.”