Think patients won’t respond to healthcare surveys? Think again.
You might be surprised to learn that 86 percent of Americans say they would likely take a survey from a healthcare provider, if asked. A West survey of 1,036 adults in the United States showed patients are more open to taking surveys than most providers realize. This is encouraging news for providers who want to conduct patient satisfaction surveys, remote health monitoring surveys, health risk assessments, and other surveys.
There’s no question that healthcare surveys are valuable tools for improving healthcare and supporting health management. Providers believe it is useful to have patients complete satisfaction surveys (98 percent), health risk assessments (94 percent), remote monitoring surveys (91 percent), medication adherence surveys (94 percent), post-discharge surveys (91 percent), and gaps in care surveys (92 percent).
West’s research findings show patients value surveys nearly as much as providers. Patients are most interested in taking satisfaction surveys (86 percent), post-discharge surveys (85 percent), and health risk assessments (83 percent).
Yet despite their interest, patients don’t always participate in surveys, as healthcare teams know all too well. And nine in ten healthcare providers say their organization does only a fair or poor job convincing patients to actually complete surveys.
Patient feedback suggests healthcare teams can influence survey response rates and that there are steps providers can take to drive higher patient participation. In order to drive higher survey response rates, healthcare teams need to understand the factors that impact patients’ willingness to complete surveys. According to West’s survey findings, patient participation may hinge on convenience, whether patients feel a survey will help them manage their health, and if a survey will serve as a springboard for follow-up communication.
The following recommendations, based on West’s survey findings, show three key ways healthcare teams can grow response rates by focusing on factors patients say influence their decision to participate in surveys.
1. Make it convenient and easy for patients to respond.
Convenience is a must-have when trying to convince patients to complete surveys. Four in ten Americans (43 percent) say they would be more likely to take a survey from a healthcare provider if they could do it on their own time. This makes online surveys an attractive option for patients. Online surveys give patients the flexibility to respond when it is convenient for them, rather than receiving an unexpected call from a live person and being expected to stop what they are doing to answer survey questions.
In addition, one-third (33 percent) of patients say having the ability to take surveys from any device makes them more likely to participate. Patients prefer the convenience of being able to respond to surveys on a mobile device, tablet, or desktop. The takeaway is fairly obvious: if surveys are easy to take, patients are more likely to participate.
For most healthcare teams, inviting patients to complete online surveys means leveraging technology you might already be using. Teams can configure the same technology for sending reminders prior to appointments to deliver a satisfaction survey invitation to patients a few hours after their appointments.
2. Connect surveys to health management support.
Interest in surveys rises among patients when they understand how surveys will benefit them. More than four in ten patients (42 percent) report they would be more likely to take a survey if they knew how it would help with their treatment. Also, 39 percent of patients with chronic health conditions say they would be more apt to participate in a survey if they felt doing so would enable them and their healthcare team to better monitor their conditions. Taking time to explain to patients why they are being asked to respond to surveys and how their responses will be used can increase survey participation.