5 Benefits of Census-Based Patient Experience Surveying

Once the "low-hanging fruit" of patient experience interventions are used up, how can hospitals continue to drive higher patient experience scores? The answer lies in deeper data from electronic census-based surveying that fuels advanced analytics, says Pat Ryan, CEO of Press Ganey. Having access to a large data sample and employing advanced data analytics can help hospitals drill down to a granular level and develop targeted interventions. Here are five benefits hospitals can gain by surveying patients online instead of a limited sample via mail.

Pat Ryan is CEO of Press Ganey.
Pat Ryan
1. Gain a more accurate understanding of patient experience. Census-based surveying enables hospitals the opportunity to capture every patient's voice, ensuring that patient experience data represents all groups of patients, not only those who are randomly chosen for the survey.

2. Improve response accuracy. Patients receive electronically delivered census-based surveys significantly faster than mailed surveys. The shortened gap between patients' hospital experience and their survey response can improve the accuracy of their answers.

3. Shorten the improvement cycle. Electronic surveys of the entire patient population not only yield more and accurate responses, but they also get data to hospitals faster, allowing them to more quickly make improvements. "The return on investment you receive from reaching out to patients through a census-based approach is dramatic; you get real-time data back to your organization, and get into the service recovery mode more quickly," Mr. Ryan says.

4. Target specific patients. Having more data gives hospitals the opportunity to
Dr. David Costello is chief analytics officer at Press Ganey.
Dr. David Costello
analyze the data at a detailed level so resources are deployed most efficiently. For example, a larger sample can allow hospitals to identify how scores differ based on demographics. Older patients may expect and desire to communicate a certain way with healthcare providers, whereas younger patients may expect and desire something different, according to Mr. Ryan. He explains how his son prefers emailing his physician, while he may prefer speaking on the phone. "Knowing your demographics and how they respond to various forms of communication is critical," he says.

Data analytics can help hospital leaders predict how patients with different diagnoses will respond to certain forms of communication and hospital characteristics. Leaders can then proactively make targeted changes to prevent dissatisfaction. "Look at a 65-year-old diabetic who has an acute instance and a 22-year-old asthmatic who has a routine check-up. Data allows you to segment them and tie them to specific outcomes," says David Costello, PhD, chief analytics officer at Press Ganey. "Understanding how someone will evaluate their experience is very important to know upfront."

5. Target specific survey items. In addition to knowing which patients to communicate with differently, data analysis of census-based data enables hospitals to focus on survey items that have the most impact. "You can drill down very specifically at the patient level on those drivers that can increase overall satisfaction," says Dr. Costello. For example, the Press Ganey survey item on how well staff work together often correlates with patients' overall patient experience scores. Hospitals can therefore improve overall patient experience scores by focusing intervention efforts on staff dynamics instead of trying to target all survey items at once.

More Articles on Patient Experience:

Survey: Patient Satisfaction May Depend on Bedside Manner More Than Medical Skill
Healthcare Emotional Intelligence: Its Role in Patient Outcomes and Organizational Success

4 Creative Ways to Improve Patient Experience From University of Utah Health Care

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