I have gotten a lot of questions about how patient satisfaction surveys work. I am going to focus on those administered by Healthstream which is the one used at our hospital.

The brief summary is as follows:

  • Administered by phone (not mailed) in English and Spanish.
  • A set number spread out over the quarter are obtained (200)
  • Only discharged patients receive surveys (not AMA, walk outs, admits).
  • The focus is on obtaining the highest possible score (always, 4 out of 4, 9 or 10 out of 10) – referred to as TOP BOX score.
  • Given our population in terms of discharges about 1\3 of patients surveyed come from the Peds ED.
  • Data is available to break down survey participants by age and treating physicians.
  • Some leave audio feedback which is accessible to the hospital
  • A comparison with other hospitals using Healthstream is provided using the TOP BOX score.
  • Right now slightly more than 6 our of 10 respondents give us the highest rating (9 or 10) for overall impression. The majority of the rest are “almosts” giving us 7s and 8s.

Under the rules of 80\20 (finding a solution for 80% of the problem by identifying the 20% that cause it) I have always maintained we should focus on those who give us good but not great scores (a 7 or 8 out of 10, a usually instead of always). It is really a matter of converting those that like us into those that love us.

Next week in Patient Satisfaction Part 2: Areas to Focus on.