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How Patient Reviews Can Reveal the Truth About Your Medical Practice

Learn how patient feedback could help medical professionals serve patients better and improve their practices, one comment at a time.

When you browse the internet these days, there’s a good chance you’ll find a bunch of people rating things. Sites post reviews on restaurants, movies, music, electronic gadgets, and pretty much everything. Those comments include reviews on medical practices and professionals.

Although you aren’t working in healthcare solely to garner reviews, you also want people to think highly of you, your staff, and your practice. After all, word-of-mouth could help a practiced flourish or languish.

To find out what your patients truly think about your practice and apply this information to improve their experiences, consider asking them to review your practice.

How Can you Ask for reviews?

But I work in eyecare, not statistics or sociology! you might argue. While that’s true, you’re also committed to helping patients. That means understanding them, and reviews are a good way to do just that.

Requesting feedback doesn’t have to be a complex process, either. You might use the tried-and-true Likert scale. This scale might be familiar because it gives questions and asks you to choose among three, five, or seven answers.

The answers rate how you feel about a particular subject, and they often look something like this:

  • I am highly interested in this feature.
  • I am slightly interested in this feature.
  • I am not interested or uninterested in this feature.
  • I am slightly uninterested in this feature.
  • I am highly uninterested in this feature.

You could check the internet for types of Likert scales that other medical practices have used for their reviews. One advantage of a Likert scale is that it asks people how they feel about something when they might be unable or unwilling to articulate those feelings themselves.

Or, you could ask patients to respond in a little more detail by answering open-ended questions, that is, questions that can’t be answered with one-word answers such as yes or no.

What Kinds of Questions or Topics could you discuss?

Some questions and topics to include in inpatient reviews include:

What is the Practice doing right?

Collecting patient reviews could boost confidence among you and your staff. Consider asking your patients if there are features about the practice that they especially like. These reviews indicate what you and your colleagues are doing right.

As a bonus, these positive reviews could balance the impact of negative comments.

What are You doing wrong?

Reviewers have a lot to say, both good and bad. Bad reviews are common, but they’re not death sentences. Asking patients what you’re doing wrong could produce some valuable learning opportunities.

To remove some of the comments’ sting and make them more constructive, you could also ask patients how they’d like your practice to correct them.

What would They like to see you do?

Asking patients what they would do helps you understand issues from their perspectives. You might not be able to implement your patients’ exact suggestions. But maybe you could modify their suggestions a bit.

Such suggestions may include subjects, perspectives, and preferences you never considered, giving you a patients’-eye view of yourself and your medical practice.

Is your Practice treating your Patients’ Conditions effectively?

Effective treatment might be in the eye of the beholder. While you might consider treating a medical condition in six months and a handful of in-person appointments effective, for example, a patient might not think this is an effective treatment.

Statements like these could help you understand what patients consider proper care, which could inform how your practice treats them. They might compel you to explain what treatments entail, how long they may take, and other issues in more detail.

Are Patients Able to work and communicate with you?

Patient reviews are communication tools you could use to discuss communication. Ideally, electronic health records (EHRs) and practice management systems could help your practice and patients exchange messages, schedule appointments, and do other things. But do your patients know how to navigate such systems and use them to their advantage?

In your questionnaire, you could ask patients if they’re comfortable using such systems if they find it easy to schedule appointments, and if they feel that your office is contacting them too much, not enough, or the right amount.

Do Patients Understand what your practice is doing or wants to do?

Gathering data about electronic health records and practice management tools could also help you determine if patients understand what your practice is doing.

They might view such systems as gadgets. Patients might not understand how technology and other tools not only help your practice, but patients like them as well.

On a related note, you could ask patients if they’re aware that you offer specific services. This gives you chances to inform them and promote yourself a little.

How do They view your Staff members?

Even with advanced technological solutions, medical practices are only as good as the people who work there. Questions and answers about your staff members could help you reward exceptional employees. Some may be doing things that you and your coworkers don’t notice, but your patients do.

Similarly, patient feedback could also identify employees who are underperforming, incompetent, or even dangerous.

How do They view your Office Environment?

Patient reviews might also want to ask about your office and how it operates. Do they find the office clean and inviting? That might sound minor, but if your patients are comfortable, they can focus on why they’re visiting, ask questions, and retain information better.

A clean office is also a safer office, which is an important consideration for patients who have ongoing mobility issues or ones who have just undergone procedures.

Would They recommend your Practice to others? Why or Why Not?

Finally, reviews from current patients could help you attract new ones. Asking your patients if they’d recommend you could help you determine if they’re satisfied. If they explain why you could analyze which qualities could attract (or repel) prospective patients.

As a follow-up, you could ask patients to make positive statements about your practice on online review sites. Feedback could help you understand how your patients feel and how you could serve them better. But however you solicit feedback, remember to keep patients’ responses anonymous.

If patients feel free to speak their minds, they could tell you very useful things that could help everyone involved.

Written By

Known for his boundless energy and enthusiasm. Evan works as a Cyber Security Analyst, an avid Blog writer, particularly around Technology, Cyber security and forthcoming threats which can compromise sensitive data. Having vast experience of ethical hacking.

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