Why is patient feedback important?
It leads to improved quality of healthcare
Feedback provided by patients is like a mirror for the hospitals. It helps them understand how patients perceive them. Further, it helps them analyze what is working and what is not working for their patients. Unless the quality of healthcare that is being provided is not measured, it cannot be improved. Hence, one crucial reason that feedback must be collected from patients is that improves the overall quality of healthcare that is provided.
It helps to improve financial growth
Acting appropriately on feedback leads to better care for patients, resulting in satisfied patients. This leads to retaining patients and achieving referral business through word of mouth reference of satisfied patients. Because healthcare is an industry massively driven by word-of-mouth referrals, keeping existing patients happy is critical. The consequence of this is increased financial gains for hospitals.
It shows patients that they are cared for
Collecting feedback is not as important as acting upon it. When healthcare organisations act on patient feedback, it indicates that they care for the patients. This develops a positive relationship between the healthcare provider and patients.
It brings valuable suggestions for hospitals
Feedback from customers is free consulting for any business. The healthcare sector is no different. A close analysis of patient feedback would give valuable insights to such businesses on how they could improve their services. It also gives a reality check by telling them the key drivers of patient happiness as well as unhappiness. Hence, this is an important method of determining where a hospital is missing, meeting, and exceeding expectations of its patients.
It helps keep up with the mission and vision of hospitals
The mission of any hospital is to bring about a positive change and difference in the life of its patients by providing an outstanding patient experience. Patient feedback helps to keep up with that mission.
Methods of collecting patient feedback
Most hospitals today collect feedback from patients in some form. Here are the most prominent way of collecting feedback.
- Paper-based feedback forms
- Tablet-based feedback forms
Why is optimization of patient feedback management system important?
Optimization allows one to draw maximum benefits out of a given system or process. In other words, optimization is the reduction of wastes. Hence, it is the methodology of making anything as effective, perfect, and functional as possible. Further, in any business today, efficiency and cost-effectiveness are important considerations; optimization helps to achieve these goals.
The entire patient feedback management system must be optimized to achieve maximum results. This would save substantial amounts of time, effort, and resources – all of which can be put to better use.
Various steps involved in a patient feedback management system
I believe there are five steps to the entire process of patient feedback management – collecting feedback, collating feedback, analyzing feedback, acting on feedback, and reporting feedback. The following portion of this article discusses how hospitals in India work on these five steps. The data has been obtained based on a primary research conducted by Omoto, a sought-after patient feedback management solution, across hospitals in India.
1. Collecting feedback
This is the process whereby hospitals collect feedback from their patients across the various touchpoints. This could be done by various methods as mentioned above.
70% of the hospitals in India collect feedback via a paper-based form whereas only 44% use a tablet device to do so. While this suggests that hospitals are graduating towards tablet-based feedback systems, the dependency on paper-based feedback system is yet to reduce.
We have already discussed that the traditional, paper-based feedback management system is not the most effective of systems. It is highly recommended that hospitals move to a tablet-based feedback management system to optimize the process of feedback collection.
2. Collating feedback
This is the process whereby the customer-service team aggregates the feedback in a certain order and manner.
A whopping 9.2 hours per week are spent, on an average, in collating feedback that is collected through paper forms. In stark contrast, only 5.3 hours per week are spent in collating the feedback collected through a tablet device. Further, 22.7% of the hospitals that use paper-based feedback forms reported 1-5% errors in the feedback collation process. Moreover, only 27% of the hospitals were able to collate the data in real-time.
Hence, the data clearly suggests that using the traditional feedback management system is time-consuming and erroneous. To gain greater efficiency in the process with minimal errors, it is imperative to optimise the process of feedback collation by using tablet-based feedback systems.
3. Analyzing feedback
This is the process whereby the patient feedback is analyzed across various parameters such as demographics, time periods, and locations. It is the through a deep analysis of the feedback that actionable insights can be drawn to further enhance the patient experience.
From the research conducted, 52% of all hospitals use MS Excel for analysis of the patient feedback received. Further, 33% of hospitals that collect feedback on tablet devices still use MS Excel for its analysis.
This clearly demonstrates the lack of a comprehensive system to analyze the feedback in a robust manner. Any organization must be able to analyze the feedback effectively to be able to act on it. A lack of such a system is detrimental to the overall feedback management process and defeats the purpose of optimization.
This is the process through which action is taken on the feedback received.
While a paltry 37% of the hospitals reported a turnaround time of less than one hour, the other 67% reported turnaround times ranging from greater than one to greater than 10 hours. 26% of the hospitals reported turnaround times of more than 10 hours on patient feedback!
Of those hospitals that reported a turnaround time as less as 1-3 hours, 71% used feedback management software solutions while only 29% used the traditional management system. Significantly, of the hospitals that reported a turnaround time of more than 10 hours, a lion’s share – 71% – used the traditional paper-based feedback management system.
This proves that hospitals that use a feedback management software have a significantly lower turnaround time than hospitals that use the paper-based manual feedback management system.
5. Reporting feedback
This is the process where the feedback is consolidated and reported to the management.
The feedback management process does not stop at acting on the feedback and closing the loop. The feedback must be reported to the management for further consideration and decision making on what needs to be done in order to improve patient experience. A massive 10 hours a week is spent in creating MIS reports manually. Is this really worth the time? Wouldn’t optimisation of this process help the team reporting feedback to put their effort and time to better use?
The data demonstrates that there is a massive need to optimize the patient feedback management system to achieve efficiency. If the entire process is automated, the many resources used for collecting, collating, analyzing, and reporting feedback can be allocated to more pressing needs.
A solution such as Omoto is used by leading healthcare brands to optimize the effort spent on patient feedback and thus, help improve the patient experience. Book a demo now!