Tailoring Patient Satisfaction Surveys to Gather Real-Time Information
Assessing patient satisfaction has gained new importance as patient satisfaction measures are required to be built into to pay-for-performance programs. The Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) survey added a financial incentive for physicians to incorporate patient-centered outcomes into care provision. While the CAHPS was intended to assess patients’ satisfaction with their health care experiences, concerns about the tool relate to possible biases inherent in the design. These design flaws may include the long length of the survey, a delay in administering the survey, and lack of specificity.
A recent study compared the data captured by CAHPS with a dermatologic surgery-specific real-time survey, specifically regarding wait times in a clinic. The authors hypothesized that the more specific survey would provide more representative and timely feedback for use in improvement efforts. 756 procedural patients visited the clinic, and 251 (33.2%) completed a real-time survey (199 surgical patients and 52 cosmetic patients) while only 9% patients completed the CAHPS survey. Clinic patients were asked to complete either a 5- or 6-question survey (depending on their reason for visiting) focused specifically on assessing patient satisfaction with wait times. The results showed that based on the real-time survey, 95.7% of patients were satisfied with their wait times, while 84.2% were satisfied based on the CAHPS survey.
The authors note that CAHPS does not distinguish why patients are visiting a clinic. Wait times are one of the largest sources of discontent for patients and can affect the perceived quality of care and influence all other measures of perceived quality. But, differences between the purpose for a visit may account for differing wait times, so educating patients about expectations is key. Also, assessing satisfaction immediately after the visit may highlight areas of needed improvement within the practice that are not captured by the CAHPS survey.
The authors conclude that implementation of a short handout survey immediately after patient care can provide physicians with more accurate feedback than the CAHPS survey may later reveal.
Byline: Martha L. Sikes, MS, RPh, PA-C
Posted: September 26, 2017
Adapted from the original article.