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What Strategies Can We Use to Increase Response Rates to Surveys?

Question

I would like to encourage my patients to participate in the patient satisfaction survey they receive when discharged. What type of strategies do we use to prevent it from appearing that we are, as a unit, formally soliciting their opinions?

Answer

I have found that discussing the survey with the patient while still at the hospital is beneficial. One health care organization did an interesting thing. They gave a handout to patients that said it was time for a check-up and explained that they needed information to improve. It highlighted that they may get a survey in the mail. It also said if the hospital isn’t providing very good service at any time, not to wait until the survey came, but to let them know right away.

This information can be given when patients are admitted to your floor. My recommendation is to not worry about intruding or asking. We have found that patients want to hear that you care about what they think, that you want to improve, and that you appreciate their feedback!

Finally, as part of discharge phone calls, you can let patients know that they will be receiving a survey in the mail and you appreciate their input as it helps the organization provide very good care. When doing the discharge phone calls, let the patients know this does not replace the survey and you would very much appreciate their filling it out and returning it.