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How This Successful Medical Practice Uses Surveys to Keep Patients Healthy (and Loyal)

How This Successful Medical Practice Uses Surveys to Keep Patients Healthy (and Loyal)

Dr. Todd SchlesingerYou’ve heard us say this before: Work smarter, not harder. Well, we mean it. And we love sharing real-life examples of this motto in action from our incredibly diverse customer base. These stories are aimed at helping you do your job even better with data no matter what space you work in.

From small businesses to education, the how and the why behind collecting data for better decisions is pretty darn universal. Listening to your customers and learning how to listen better (and smarter) is important for the health of any organization.

So with health in mind, we’re excited to have Dr. Todd Schlesinger here on the blog to share how the feedback that his team collects using SurveyMonkey has solved crucial business challenges for his medical practice. Dr. Schlesinger is a Board-Certified dermatologist, founder, and Medical Director of the Dermatology & Laser Center of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina.

Please welcome Dr. Schlesinger!

The Dermatology and Laser Center of Charleston is a full service medical, research and cosmetic dermatology practice. We’re dedicated to providing a warm, friendly and compassionate environment while offering customized care to each patient. This individualized approach means listening carefully to the patient feedback we receive on every aspect of their office visit experience in order to help us improve and strengthen our services.

Creating a safe environment

We were seeking out a secure, private outlet where patients felt comfortable sharing their true thoughts and opinions on anything and everything about our practice. Why? Listening to them helps us identify our strengths and weaknesses. Previously, my team had been distributing paper surveys and only receiving 1-2 responses a month. Clearly, we weren’t getting adequate feedback from our patients. This is where SurveyMonkey came in.

To achieve maximum benefit from our healthcare surveys, we devised a base survey structure that’s simple but has allowed us to build and edit as our needs have changed throughout the years.

Here’s how we did it:

  1. We started with a short 8 question survey—concise and easy for our patients to complete. The survey questions we use range from scaling and multiple choice to an open comment box. A wide range of topics are covered in our questions—from patients’ initial impressions of our office, each step of their visit, whether they have heard about our other departments, and if they’d recommend our practice to family and friends.
  1. Surveys are sent out via email the following business day after a patient’s appointment. We’re able to do this through our EMR (electronic medical records) system that includes a simple letter and then a web link to the survey. Our custom Thank You page redirects participants to the sign-up form on our website for our weekly newsletter.

We don’t change the survey questions often but have, on occasion, reworked the survey to address a particular topic such as our new automated telephone system or whether after hours appointments would be valued.

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Learning valuable lessons

What we learn from analyzing our survey results are incredibly important to the success of our practice. Since implementing SurveyMonkey, we have received over 5,500 responses, averaging 150 responses per month. A substantial increase from our 1-2 answers a month with previous printed attempts. Making use of the following tool’s features also maximize the potential of our patient surveys. Particularly the web link collector, Facebook Collector, the export and filtering options and our lives are also easier because SurveyMonkey is HIPAA Compliant.

Patients are invited to leave their name and contact information for us to reach out and address any concerns they have in a timely manner, increasing our patient satisfaction overall. We have been able to identify weaknesses in our patient experience such as long wait times or check-in processes that could be smoother. My team takes steps to ensure these matters are addressed accordingly thanks to the feedback received.

We have also been able to gauge awareness of our clinical research center through our survey simply by asking if the patient is aware of it. Seeing this data and taking strides to highlight our research center, we have increased the awareness of our center amongst our current patient population by 10%.

Putting data into action

Our survey results are used to commend staff members on jobs well done while at the same time identifying areas we can improve upon for our patients. We implemented increased efforts in communication between staff members and patients when appointments extend past their estimated time, as well as introducing new policies on surgery days to better accommodate patients during their extended stay at our practice.

All survey responses, while kept anonymous unless otherwise stated by the patient, are sent out to our staff on a weekly basis so they, too, can see the feedback we are receiving. This has boosted morale while encouraging employees to be more cognizant of their environment.

SurveyMonkey is our not-so-secret weapon in being the best dermatology practice we possibly can for our patients. It’s an invaluable tool which allows us to meet and exceed expectations daily, thus making our jobs as healthcare providers even more enjoyable.

Have a survey success story of your own to share?

We’d love to hear from you out there. No matter what your business or organization might be, we want to hear how you’re using data to help you make better decisions. Tell us your story –>

To learn more about Dr. Todd Schlesinger and the Dermatology & Laser Center of Charleston, please visit their page here

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