Nov. 26, 2012
plastic surgeon Dr. Patti Flint believes that the use of patient surveys have enhanced her practice and contributed to a high degree of patient satisfaction. Taking a proactive approach to patient relations could be a model for other physicians, she feels, as it improves the overall operation of her practice and contributes to an atmosphere of trust between doctor and patient.
"My patients' feedback about their experiences with me and my practice is very important to me. I want to understand how the experience felt from their viewpoint so my staff and I continue to improve on the process from start to finish," says Dr. Flint.
Dr. Flint's practice asks patients to fill out surveys at two different times: after the initial consultation visit and after the surgical procedure. The post-operative survey is sent three months after treatment so the patient can share information about all of the follow-up visits as well as the surgical result.
Because every interaction from the first phone call to the last follow-up appointment factors into a patient's overall satisfaction, each point of patient contact is scrutinized for ways to
improve the patient experience
. Creating a positive atmosphere for her patients involves the entire staff at Patti Flint MD PC, and survey responses lead to constant innovation in practice procedures.
Two examples of changes in office protocol involve patient communications:
- The development of a Patient Concierge. The surveys revealed that patients sometimes felt unsure about directing questions to various staff members, so this position was created so patients had just one contact who could respond to any concern related to their treatment.
- A change in consultation approach. Dr. Flint modified the consultation process when the surveys revealed that patients felt uncomfortable interrupting her with questions, even when encouraged to do so. Comments also showed that patients sometimes forgot some of their questions before the end of the conference. She now structures the consultation to offer time for questions throughout the meeting.
The sign-in process is also constantly revised based on ongoing patient feedback and is another way that
patients help the practice improve
The surveys ask patients to respond to various statements about their experience with the practice, rating everything from the initial sign-in process to the final post-operative check-up. The surveys include the following statements:
- The timeliness of your appointment
- The way staff shared information with you
- The overall care given to you by Dr. Flint
- Staff listened and were responsive to me
- Dr. Flint seemed to care about my feelings
- Dr. Flint and staff worked well as a team
- I felt comfortable asking questions
- I know whom to call if I have questions
- I was satisfied with the post-operative follow-up care received from Dr. Flint
- I was satisfied with the way the staff prepared me for the experience of surgery and recovery.
In addition to asking patients to respond to a number of statements, the surveys also allow patients to offer additional comments to supplement their responses to the statements. This function also allows patients to express opinions on topics that are not expressly solicited in the survey.