Improve Patient Experience Data Collection with These 5 Steps

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Improve Patient Experience Data Collection with These 5 Steps

When you are looking to improve the collection of patient experience data, make sure you are doing the right things. Follow our 5 tips for immediate success.

By Gert Volmer

Collecting patient experience data includes gathering as much information in real time as you can. It also entails aligning patient experience surveys to the organization’s primary healthcare goals. Let’s take a look at a recent report done by Chilmark Research.

Current shortcomings with data collection.

There’s no question that upgrades are overdue to patient experience data collection processes. First, organizations hoping to evaluate patient experience need to increase the timeliness of the data. It’s also essential to increase the overall value of the information from patient surveys. This recent report, based on interviews taken from a dozen chief experience officers, suggests that survey solutions suffer from numerous shortcomings. Three of the primary problems include:

⚫ Surveys are too long

⚫ The data is captured retrospectively

⚫ Surveys are implemented with outdated phone or paper-based methods

Overall, the chief experience officers felt that the most urgent desire was to gather data in real time. Ideally, the data would be collected prior to the patient leaving the facility. This applies to inpatient wards, laboratories, or emergency rooms.

Most important need is an insight into patient experience

From the perspective of those executives interviewed, it’s clear that gaining insight into the patient’s experience while receiving care is of paramount importance. Up until now, however, many healthcare providers have collected data from the patient through the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) surveys. These are the surveys that are required by Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Relying on this type of survey has significant shortcomings and leaves the door open for bad data as a result. The most noticeable issue is the time lag associated with this type of research. Ideally, the CXOs aim to increase patient satisfaction while treatment is still underway.

Having real-time information allows the organization to improve care while the patient is still receiving treatment. Instead of waiting weeks to address a negative experience, the patient sees a resolution immediately.

Even if the resolution can’t happen while care is still ongoing, patients want a quick solution. Having the answer within a day, or a couple of days, is far better than waiting longer.

5 recommendations for healthcare providers

In this report, there are five recommendations given for healthcare providers. When you seek to upgrade your patients’ experience data capability, consider these practices.

1. Align the surveys with your organizational goals

It’s common for a healthcare provider to focus on several primary goals at once. These goals aim to improve the patient experience. To accomplish this, any questions you use to survey your patients must align with these goals.

The questions and answers must also measure against metrics like HCAHPS. With the proper questionnaire in place, it’s easier to measure progress towards your organization’s goals.

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2. Don’t forget about employee satisfaction

Employee burnout can lead to massive problems. Unhappy staff won’t just leave; those that stay will drag your organization down, resulting in declining quality of care, slower care delivery, and a much lower overall patient experience. Using an employee satisfaction survey allows you to gauge your staff’s level of burnout. Once you understand the situation, you can effectively take steps to improve any problem areas.

The more insight you receive, the more equipped you are to help your employees. Remember, every step you take to improve your work environment is a chance to accelerate patient satisfaction as well.

3. Utilize real-time data

The CXOs who were interviewed during this report also indicated the need for real-time data. They desired to understand how individual departments and business lines perform. Waiting weeks simply isn’t an option. You don’t want to wait to receive the HCAHPS survey results when action is required promptly.

4. Prioritize qualitative data

While yes/no queries do provide valuable quantitative data, they don’t give you the qualitative information which will really help you improve your patient experience. Every patient survey should include some open-ended questions. The patient experience data collection must also include phone calls to call centers and administrative offices to be effective.

5. EHR integration is needed

It’s vital to integrate patient experience surveys with electronic health records. This allows nurses and physicians to discuss the survey with the patient. With this setup, administering the study during the visit is much easier.

The other benefit to integration is that you remove the burden of sending surveys from your staff. The EHR can do it automatically.

Take data collection to the next level

The healthcare industry provides plenty of ways to collect valuable data. Customize the solutions that work for your setup to receive the data you desire. If you would like to discuss how best to collect patient experience data in your particular situation and care setting, we are available to help.