close up of a patient's hand using a pen to complete a patient feedback surveys paper on a blue clipboard

Patient Feedback Surveys: developing and gathering feedback

It’s critical to obtain patient feedback in order to determine how your practice and staff are perceived. Patient experience feedback is one of the core quality dimensions for health service performance and a promoter of patient-centred care. Health services can be more responsive to patients’ needs and preferences. We know from literature that positive patient experience is associated with higher levels of safety and clinical effectiveness in health services.

What is patient feedback?

Patient feedback is the opinion of patients regarding their experience within a healthcare setting – particularly interactions with staff and practitioners. This information is collated and assessed, providing insights into a practice’s customer service and healthcare performance.

Obtaining feedback is essential to a high-functioning and successful health service. Patient feedback can offer reliable quality improvement suggestions, but the process is not as simple as it may appear.

Collecting, analysing and utilising reliable and in-depth information is a complex process. So why use patient feedback, and what’s included in a valid and reliable patient feedback survey?

Why should a practice or clinician gather patient feedback?

The use of a systematic patient feedback process offers benefits for your practice, staff and patients. These benefits align with achieving the Quadruple Aim – ranging from practice enhancements to improved care, and increased patient satisfaction and loyalty.

By accurately gathering information about your patient’s experience, your practice can listen to customers and assess its strengths and shortfalls. The valuable insights gleaned are a strong base for effective quality improvement projects.

A robust patient satisfaction survey will provide in-depth information about how your practice staff and medical practitioners are perceived by patients. A practice will collect and reflect on feedback provided to improve patient care.

Encouraging patients to partake in feedback will help your practice in forming a stronger relationship with your patients. This is achieved by actively responding to feedback to improve the quality of care you provide and improving patient experience.

Honest feedback from patients can lead to high employee satisfaction. Receiving feedback can improve mental health and joy in the workplace. This is proven to secure a well-performing practice team for years to come.

How do I collect patient feedback?

Collecting patient feedback is simple.

RACGP Standards for general practices 5th edition requirements stipulate that feedback must be collected through the use of a validated feedback method.

Questionnaires are optimal for gathering patient feedback in a primary care facility. They can address a range of themes without much complication while providing both qualitative and quantitative data. Including a combination of both data types allow for greater insight into the patient experience.

Focus groups and interviews are less common than other methods but offer unique perspectives. The process is more costly and complex and must be validated by RACGP before the results can be used for accreditation purposes.

What to include in a patient feedback form?

The quality of feedback form questions will determine the quality of the information provided by patients. If questions are insufficient or loaded, data may not represent how the patient feels. This will impact the effectiveness of future quality improvement initiatives.

Topics commonly found in a patient feedback questionnaire include but are not limited to:

  • continuity of care
  • access and availability of care
  • provision of information by clinicians and practice staff
  • privacy and confidentiality, and
  • communication and interpersonal skills of clinical and administrative staff.

For the best results, it’s recommended that numerous questions be covered under each topic.

Creating a robust, independent and systematic process for patient feedback can be overwhelming and time consuming. Fortunately, validated survey tools are available through external providers.

Who should you ask to participate in a patient survey?

When gathering patient feedback, you should obtain data from a sample that represents the diversity of patients who visit your practice.

To get accurate feedback data, patients must be randomly selected from a wide selection of participants. A common method of random selection is consecutive sampling. This involves selecting a time frame (e.g. a morning or afternoon) and sampling every patient. This should remove any user bias and provide a truly random sample.

Remember, the greater the variety of patients, the more accurate the feedback data will be.

External patient feedback survey providers

Practising in, or running a practice is often a busy and stressful environment. Preparing, executing, compiling, analyzing, and using patient feedback surveys can be a tedious and daunting challenge.

External companies with experience in patient and colleague feedback collection and analysis can help you reduce the administrative burden on your team.

CFEP Surveys manage and administer the Practice Accreditation & Improvement Survey (PAIS) process with our hallmark rigour and attention to detail.

Patient feedback survey requirements for accreditation – RACGP 5th edition

General practices are required to undertake patient experience surveys as part of the RACGP Standards 5th edition. Practices are expected to gather and analyse data from patients in order to find ways to enhance their patient care and patient experience.

RACGP does not specify the method used to collect patient feedback. However, your chosen feedback method must gain approval from RACGP. You can consult the RACGP website to learn more about developing your own patient feedback form template and method.

CFEP Surveys is proud to provide a RACGP validated questionnaire. Our CFEP Surveys PAIS tool is the preferred patient feedback tool of over 5000 Australian general practices and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services.

Patient feedback for practices

Our CFEP Surveys PAIS tool fulfills the RACGP Standards 5th edition requirements within Australia. Most of our PAIS customers have used our tool to meet accreditation requirements since the RACGP Standards for general practices 5th edition was first introduced.

The CFEP Surveys PAIS tool aims to provide as little disturbance to the day-to-day running of a practice as possible. This gives practice teams more time to focus on patient care.

Our PAIS tool is cost-effective, and we offer discounts to our returning customers.

Patient feedback for clinicians

To further assist with clinician professional development and ongoing learning, CFEP Surveys’ PAIS tool includes CFEP Surveys’ Interpersonal Skills Questionnaire (ISQ).

This questionnaire is designed to give health professionals insights into their interpersonal skills from the patients’ point of view. You will gain feedback on a patient’s recent care experience and interactions with the individual clinician.

This questionnaire formulates part of the RACGP and ACRRM Professional Development Programs and allows practitioners to earn CPD points.

For information on any of our other survey offerings, get in contact with our team who are happy to help.

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