Healthcare News & Insights

Tech drives new strategy for patient-satisfaction surveys

Typically, patient-satisfaction surveys aren’t given to patients until the end of their visit, or shortly after they’re discharged. This means hospitals don’t get feedback on patients’ experiences until long after they’ve left. However, one hospital is taking a different approach to gathering feedback. 

489302156Yale-New Haven Hospital System’s new strategy combines technology with practices often seen in the hospitality industry.

According to an article in CIO magazine, the hospital has started giving patients tablets preloaded with an app called Humm where they can take a brief survey at the beginning of their hospital stay.

How it works

Originally, as described in the CIO article, Humm was mostly used by food service and hospitality organizations. After seeing what the app did for restaurants, Yale-New Haven decided to reach out to the company and find out if it could take the app and adapt it for a hospital.

Once the app was tweaked to fit Yale-New Haven’s needs, it was modified with questions for patients that dealt with areas such as noise, housekeeping, and staff friendliness and responsiveness. Humm kept the survey short – in general, it recommends hospitals only ask between five and seven questions on each survey to keep patients from being overwhelmed.

Giving patients this brief survey right away means they can note problems they’ve experienced so far, and issues can be corrected while a patient’s still in the hospital – instead of having to wait until afterward to address them.

Patients can also have immediate needs related to survey questions addressed directly through the app. Example: If a hospital room needs cleaning, there’s a button in the app to alert housekeeping.

Additional surveys

Yale-New Haven gives patients a different survey during discharge asking questions about their stay. Before, they’d just mail patient surveys after the stay was complete, like many other facilities. But they wouldn’t receive responses for at least a month after the patient’s stay – if they were even submitted at all.

The hospital still mails traditional patient-satisfaction surveys, but even if patients don’t respond, the facility has baseline information from surveys patients filled out during their visit. And patients who do respond to the mailed surveys are giving the hospital high marks for its proactive approach to problem solving.

Because of Yale-New Haven’s success, more hospitals and healthcare providers have started using Humm and similar apps to ask patients about their experience and their care.

In fact, Humm now has 100 customers in the healthcare industry – and 80 just started using the app in the last few months.

More patient-centered innovations

Yale-New Haven has also made other strides in making its care more patient-centered and focused on positive outcomes.

The hospital’s electronic health records (EHR) system has built-in alerts for when patients are due for certain health services such as vaccines and screening tests. Then, using special patient-engagement software, prompts are issued to call or email patients to schedule appointments for these services.

Taking initiative

Using technology like this can help hospitals provide more patient-centered care.

But not every hospital can invest in tablets, apps and software. However, all hospitals can use Yale-New Haven’s example and not wait until a visit ends before soliciting feedback from patients.

Getting an idea of how patients’ experience is going right away can help hospitals nip problems in the bud before they have negative effects on a patient’s health, recovery or hospital stay.

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