An analysis of patient comments in the first two months of 2021 shows a trend in patients seeking information on how to schedule a COVID vaccine. Compared to the last two months of 2020, there has been a 301% increase in the mention of vaccines in free text patient comments. A limited vaccine supply has caused distribution challenges and has left many vulnerable patients struggling to understand their next steps.
In December, SurveyVitals made a vaccine-specific question available as a part of the national COVID question set. Of the 20,000 patients who have responded to the question When available, will you get the COVID-19 vaccine?, 80.41% said “yes.” Your patients are likely to view you as a resource in helping them to schedule their vaccines. Patient comments such as “I need a vaccine! Where can I go?” and “I would like information on how I can get my vaccine” are growing in frequency on patient experience surveys.
Whether or not your practice is administering the COVID vaccine to patients, it may be a good idea to have information and resources available to address questions about getting the vaccine. Here are some best practices for supporting your patients during this time.
Ensure all staff understands current eligibility criteria and vaccine supply in your state. Have a system in place to educate all staff on any changes in these criteria.
If your practice is administering the vaccine, make scheduling instructions available to patients. Ensure patients are aware of any proof of eligibility that is required in order to receive the vaccine. If patients schedule their vaccines through a patient portal, provide instructions on how to sign up and log in.
If your practice is not administering the vaccine, provide resources to external information where they can learn more. These may include links to state and health district websites, or any local phones lines that have been set up for vaccine questions.
Follow up on patient questions. If the patient reaches out with questions related to vaccine scheduling or eligibility, provide any information and resources you can–even if you are not able to schedule a vaccine for that patient.
Provide consistent information. Create scripts, handouts, or response templates for discussing vaccine scheduling and availability with patients. This ensures that all staff communicate the same information and reduces the risk of causing confusion.
Include information on your website and have resources available for patients at your practice for better visibility.
Show empathy to patients who are experiencing challenges with getting their vaccines. Your concern and willingness to help may positively influence patient perceptions surrounding access and confidence and trust within the community.
Utilize your comment keyword search to find out if vaccine questions are trending among your patient population. Enabling alerts and the Contact Me feature can bring these concerns to your attention promptly so you can act quickly to help your patients.
SurveyVitals makes it easy to capture patient feedback, and with real-time, actionable insights understand your patient experience. Schedule a demo to learn more.
Over 80% of patients turn to Google when looking for a new healthcare provider. SurveyVitals’ online reputation tools have helped boost client Google reviews by 281%. While increasing your number of online reviews is essential for attracting new patients, it’s equally important to respond to these reviews appropriately.
Patients are certainly reading online reviews, but they’re also likely to be reading your responses to them. Eighty-nine percent of consumers read business responses to online reviews. Not only do these responses build trust with your current and prospective patients, but they have the potential to negate damage to your online reputation and prevent missed opportunities for patient growth.
When responding to online reviews, it’s important to address the patient’s concern while also being mindful of HIPAA. Simply acknowledging that the reviewer is a patient of your practice can be a violation of HIPAA; the patient’s review is not authorization for you to release any of their protected health information.
The wrong response to a patient review can have negative consequences. Here are some common mistakes and best practices to consider when responding to online reviews for your practice.
What to avoid in responses to online reviews
Take caution not to acknowledge that the reviewer is a patient. Even a statement such as, “We’re sorry you experienced a long wait to check in for your appointment” confirms the reviewer was seen at your practice.
Don’t repeat any information given in the review. If the reviewer states their treatment for a certain condition was ineffective, don’t discuss that condition or treatment by name.
Avoid getting defensive. You may disagree with the review, but prospective patients may shy away from your practice if your responses are defensive or argumentative.
Best practices for responding to online reviews
Thank the reviewer. A simple “Thank you for taking the time to leave a review” is appropriate. Be cautious not to thank them for their feedback about their visit, as this would be confirming their status as a patient.
Keep it brief. Use generic terminology and keep your response short and simple.
Use response templates. Create generic, canned responses that include a simple “thank you” and contact information. For example, a canned response for a negative review might be: Thank you for leaving a review. Please contact our [Position Title] at [Phone or Email] so we can learn more.
SurveyVitals can help you grow your online reputation. Schedule a demo to learn more.
Wait times have long been a common concern for patients at office-based medical appointments. When telehealth skyrocketed in popularity last year, it became clear that wait times are even more of a frustration for patients during virtual visits.
The numbers show wait times are the biggest pain point for patients who use telehealth. While the national composite mean for wait times during in-person visits in 2020 was 4.79, it was only 4.51 for virtual visits. Although virtual visits offer convenience and can be done from the comfort of the patient’s own home, wait times cannot be ignored.
The American Medical Association says health professionals are seeing 50-175 times the number of patients through telehealth as they did prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because this growth was sudden and unexpected, healthcare providers and organizations are having to learn and adjust processes as they go. Delays are inevitable, but for the patient, this can be exceptionally stressful; after all, during a virtual visit there is no one nearby who can keep them informed of their wait.
In this case, communicating with your patients up front and providing clear instructions for virtual visits is the best possible way to ease wait time frustrations. Since many patients are new to telehealth, sending an email with detailed instructions or providing a link to the information on your website prior to the scheduled visit is ideal.
Inform the patient of the equipment or devices (including system requirements) that can be used for their visit.
An analysis of patient comments on our Telehealth Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire showed nearly 27% of patients had trouble logging in or connecting to their telehealth visit.
Provide instructions on where and how the patient will log into their visit. If a username and password are required, ensure the patient understands how to set up an account if they don’t already have one. Encourage your patients to log on for their visit 10-15 minutes early in the event they have connectivity issues.
If your practice emails a link to the patient to join the visit, tell the patient how long prior to their appointment time they can expect to receive the link. When sending links, always double-check the patient’s email address at the time of scheduling.
Direct Phone Calls
If the provider will call the patient directly, double-check the patient’s phone number at the time of scheduling. As with email, notify the patient of the approximate time their provider will be calling. When possible, let the patient know what number the provider will be calling from.
Provide the patient with troubleshooting FAQs for common connection issues.
While it may not be feasible to provide updates to the patient during their wait, it’s a good idea to set an expectation for the amount of time the patient may have to wait after their appointment start time. Provide information on who they should contact in the event their wait lasts longer than a specified amount of time, such as 15 minutes.
By proactively communicating to all patients about common setbacks and causes for delays, the efficiency of your virtual visits may increase and positively impact wait times.
SurveyVitals offers a Telehealth Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire to gather feedback from your patients on their virtual visit experiences with your practice. Learn more here or sign up for a demo.
When measuring the patient experience, it’s important not only to examine the doctor-patient relationship and interactions with clinical staff, but also where it all begins: at reception.
Although front desk staff aren’t treating patients, their role in the patient experience is critical. It’s so important, in fact, that a patient may switch doctors simply because of a negative interaction during check-in. Concerns with reception may also lead to negative online reviews and may even increase the risk of malpractice suits.
Reception and the patient experience
There are four ways in which reception at your practice has a significant impact on the patient experience.
Reception is the patient’s first impression of your practice
Check-in sets the tone for the patient’s entire visit. The prompt greeting and nonverbal communication of the front desk staff are vital to conveying value to the patient. This is the first opportunity to make the patient feel like their needs come first.
During check-in, the patient may also form opinions about the efficiency and professionalism of your practice. This first impression is difficult to negate, even if the patient is extremely satisfied with their provider.
Reception is a hotspot for privacy concerns
Discussing patient information too loudly or in too public of an area may cause privacy concerns. If a patient feels like their privacy is violated during check-in, they may continue to worry about privacy throughout their visit and during their time with the provider. Respecting privacy at the front desk demonstrates the level of commitment your practice as a whole has toward privacy and security.
Reception impacts patient perceptions of wait times
Though a long wait time may not be the fault of the front desk staff, patients often perceive excessive wait times to be related to reception. Front desk staff can help to ease wait time frustrations by greeting patients promptly at check-in and providing regular updates when wait times are high.
Reception affects perceived access to care
When a patient can’t reach someone by phone to schedule an appointment or is given incorrect information about an appointment, they consider these concerns when rating their overall experience. If another practice is more accessible, they may choose to leave.
What can you do?
These five simple best practices can go a long way in improving the patient’s experience during check-in.
Greet the patient promptly with a smile when they approach the check-in area; if all staff are with other patients, acknowledge each patient who enters and explain they will be helped as soon as possible
Speak softly when discussing the patient’s personal information
Use warm nonverbal communication: smile, maintain eye contact, and speak with a gentle tone of voice
Display empathy toward the patient; remember they are in a vulnerable position
Check in with the patient and provide updates when wait times are longer than expected
The Reception question group on the Standard Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire (SPSQ) gives you insights into your patients’ attitudes toward your front desk staff. Dive even deeper with comment sentiment analysis to learn about specific pain points for your patients.
The Improvement Center also contains a variety of resources targeted toward Reception best practices.
A common concern expressed by patients is the communication of test results. Many medical practices have turned to patient portals to alleviate these concerns. Patient portals are now responsible for communicating with many of the 1-2 million patients being tested for COVID-19 every day in the US. The patient portal can be a great tool when it is used with the patients’ best interests in mind.
Using our comment analysis tools, we identified the most common concerns expressed by patients in regards to portal test results. Here are the biggest challenges and best practices to maximize the benefits of communicating test results to patients.
Patients don’t know how to use the portal
Your patients may not know how to access or log into your patient portal, or they may not know how to navigate it to find their test results. At the time of the visit, it’s important to provide the patient with clear, detailed instructions for accessing and using the portal.
If feasible, consider inviting the patient to set up their portal account during their visit so you can assist with any questions that arise. Offering instruction cards or flyers might aid in suggesting portal account setup to your patients.
Expectations are not met
It’s important to set and meet expectations when it comes to communicating test results via the patient portal.
First, ensure your patient knows their test results will be uploaded to the portal. If the patient assumes they will be receiving a phone call, they may not think to check online.
Next, give the patient a realistic timeframe for uploading their results. A common complaint from patients in regards to online test results is that they are not uploaded as promptly as they had expected. A recent survey found that viewing test results is among the top reasons patients utilize the portal in the first place. When the patient doesn’t see their test results online within an expected timeframe, this could lower their confidence in the reliability of the patient portal.
Finally, be consistent when uploading test results to the portal. If the patient finds their test results on the portal in some instances and not others, they may discontinue use of the portal for this purpose altogether.
The portal is your only method of communication
The portal is a great tool for communicating test results in a more timely manner. It is possible the patient will need help interpreting the results or will have questions about next steps and treatment. It’s important to follow up with the patient verbally or to provide clear next steps and information about who they can reach out to with questions.
If you are communicating test results via a portal, take the time to understand what is working and what isn’t. Run a report with the Report Builder in your SurveyVitals portal and search the comments for terms such as ‘portal’ or ‘test results’ to gather key patient insights. You can also add addendum questions to your surveys for further insights; reach out to your Client Success Manager for more information.
Interested to learn more about SurveyVitals? Request more information here.
At SurveyVitals, we hope you view your dedicated client account manager and the online solution as an extension of your business. This is why we are continually striving to keep you and your team apprised of performance while you are on the go. The new Trend Report sends a high-level overview of your survey scores straight to your inbox. This monthly digest provides a 90-day lookback and can guide you as you use the portal to drill down into your detailed performance data.
In your Trend Report, you will find a variety of performance insights.
Survey and Engagement Metrics
See a quick overview of survey count, response rate, and engagement metrics.
Best and Lowest Rated Performers
Quickly gauge which clinicians and divisions in your organization are performing the highest, and which need the most improvement.
Uptrending and Downtrending Performers
Use uptrend and downtrend data to dive deeper into performance with certain locations or individuals, and take action.
The Monthly Trend Report can be enabled for all users in your organization, or for select individuals. Information presented in the report is dependent on user type.
If you are a SurveyVitals user, view the article in the Help Center to learn how to enable the Monthly Trend Report. Want to learn more about SurveyVitals, request more information here.
SURVEYVITALS JOINS DECENTRALIZED TRIALS & RESEARCH ALLIANCE (DTRA) TO DEMOCRATIZE AND ACCELERATE CLINICAL TRIALS
New Global Industry Coalition That Aims to Dramatically Increase Access for All Patients Populations in Clinical Trials and Research Launches Today
BOISE, ID – SurveyVitals, Inc. joins an historic alliance of fifty life sciences and healthcare organizations that seeks to accelerate the broad adoption of patient-focused, decentralized clinical trials and research. The “Decentralized Trials & Research Alliance (DTRA),” which launches December 10th, 2020, plans to unite industry stakeholders, including healthcare companies, regulators, patient groups and research organizations with a singular mission to make clinical trial participation widely accessible by advancing policies, research practices and digital-health technologies in decentralized clinical research.
“SurveyVitals is honored to support the founding of the DTRA,” said Blake Vosburgh, President of SurveyVitals. “Decentralized trials, as both a continuity countermeasure and a proactive protocol, create an opportunity for greater patient centricity. By engaging directly with the patient to understand the quality of their experience, the weight of their burden and the detail of the value of the trial to each individual, sponsors and CROs can adapt more quickly to ensure patient retention, inspire protocol adherence and improve future trial design.”
“We are extremely gratified to welcome SurveyVitals to the ‘Decentralized Trials & Research Alliance,’” said Amir Kalali, MD, founder of several collaborative life science communities, and co-convenor of DTRA. “By advancing decentralized research we can make the clinical trial process more patient-focused, increase trial efficiency and encourage use of technologies. We are excited by SurveyVitals’ commitment to embracing decentralized trials and to changing the culture that has been the rate limiter to innovation.”
Experts estimate that COVID-19 may set back non-pandemic clinical trials by several years due to prospective patients’ inability or reluctance to schedule visits at physical research locations. Decentralized approaches to conducting research facilitate participation by a more diverse patient population and could ease COVID-19-imposed difficulties for both patients and clinical investigators. Inclusion of representative patient populations in clinical trials by race, age and geographic location has long been an operational challenge. COVID-19 has amplified the disparities and inclusion biases that have become hurdles for potential trial participants.
“Now is the time to share ideas and insights that will chart the future course of clinical trials, accelerating drug development and saving lives – and by taking part in the DTRA, SurveyVitals is demonstrating its leadership to drive change,” said Craig Lipset, DTRA co-convener, clinical innovation advisor, and a pioneer in decentralized trials. “We have a responsibility to advance the health of people with unmet medical needs, and by convening stakeholders from pharma companies, regulators, technology leaders and patient communities, we can remove remaining barriers to adoption and impact patients today.”
SurveyVitals joins with its peer DTRA Member organizations to provide expertise to identify and address gaps and needs and advance best practices through effective education and communication. SurveyVitals urges other organizations interested in taking part to visit DTRA.org.
The Decentralized Trials & Research Alliance (DTRA) was convened to enable collaboration of stakeholders to accelerate the adoption of patient-focused, decentralized clinical trials and research within life sciences and healthcare through education and research. It works to make research participation accessible to everyone, enabled by the consistent, widespread adoption of appropriate decentralized research methods. Follow DTRA on Twitter and LinkedIn for more information.
ABOUT SURVEYVITALS, INC:
For over 15 years, SurveyVitals mission has been to partner with healthcare organizations and clinicians to understand and improve the patient experience using innovative technology. In-depth, intuitive reporting tools provide actionable insights in real-time to support data-driven decision making. SurveyVitals offers comprehensive solutions, including a unique blend of digital patient surveys, CMS-approved CAHPS administration, and online reputation tools to help organizations of all sizes and specialties meet their goals. To learn more visit www.SurveyVitals.com.
It’s not uncommon for patients visiting the doctor to experience anxiety related to their symptoms, diagnosis, or treatment. The spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has introduced a new type of anxiety for many patients: the fear of exposure to the virus. Many Americans are even avoiding medical care due to fear of contracting the virus in a healthcare setting.
Using SurveyVitals’ comment sentiment analysis and keyword search, we reviewed patient comments specific to COVID-19 procedures in office-based practices. We identified the top five patient concerns related to fear of clinical contamination. Taking steps to address these concerns may increase your patients’ comfort level with your care.
Top 5 Patient Concerns
#1: Visitor Screening
Screening patients and visitors prior to entry may look different from one practice to the next. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has published recommendations for screening patients for COVID-19 symptoms and risk potential.
This screening at the building entrance gives peace of mind for patients who worry they will come in contact with someone infected with COVID-19. It is important to have a triaging process in place so patients can feel at ease in your facility.
#2: Shared Items
Patients are particularly apprehensive about handling shared items such as pens, clipboards, or tablets. Whenever possible, offer the option for patients to fill out paperwork online prior to their visit.
For patients who do need to fill out forms onsite, disinfect pens and clipboards after each use. Consider having a clearly-labeled ‘clean’ set of pens and clipboards for patients to use.
In the waiting room, remove magazines and toys. If wifi is available, post the login information so patients can use their phones while they wait.
#3: Waiting Room Distancing
Many patients express discomfort with their proximity to other people in the waiting room. The CDC guidelines for clinic COVID-19 preparedness specify that waiting rooms should be set up to allow for six feet of distance between patients. Use signs to designate seating as off-limits, or remove chairs from the waiting room to provide adequate social distancing.
For check-in and check-out, place markers on the floor for patients to stand on to maintain six feet of distance.
If social distancing is not feasible in your waiting room, consider having patients wait in their cars or in a designated outdoor waiting area. If possible, you may also set up partitions inside.
#4: Face Masks
The CDC has published recommendations regarding personal protective equipment (PPE) for clinicians and symptomatic patients. However, required use of masks by all staff (both clinical and office) as well as patients and visitors is important in reducing patient anxiety about COVID-19 exposure.
If masks are required at your facility, make the policy known when scheduling the appointment and again with any reminders sent to the patient.
Sometimes patients can have difficulty with understanding their provider or another staff member due to mask use. Before removing your mask, view this article on communicating effectively while following COVID-19 prevention procedures.
#5: Offering Supplies
It’s crucial to offer hand sanitizer and tissues, and to ensure patients can easily access trash cans and soap at sinks. Patients without access to these supplies are likely to experience anxiety about contamination, especially if they have had to handle shared items such as pens, or if they’ve had to touch door handles or equipment.
SurveyVitals Study of Patient Views on COVID-19
Since March 2020, SurveyVitals has surveyed over 100,000 patients to capture public sentiment regarding COVID-19. View the ongoing study here and sign up for a demo today to learn how you can take part while collecting valuable feedback about the patient experience in your organization.
The SurveyVitals solution is continuously evolving to fit our users’ unique needs–healthcare organizations of all sizes and specialties. Improvements and new developments to the online reporting patient experience platform come as a result of direct input and asks from clients.
Our newly released telehealth survey solution makes it easy for practices providing both in-person visits and audio/visual offerings to understand and measure what might feel like a new experience. Additionally, the patient survey interface has been optimized to improve user experience. To learn more about these releases, read below or contact your SurveyVitals account manager.
Interested in learning more about SurveyVitals? Request more information here.
Due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, more healthcare organizations are offering virtual visits than ever before to reduce the risk of exposure to patients and staff. To help our clients adapt, we developed the Telehealth Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire (TPSQ).
The telehealth survey features 12 questions about the patient experience with virtual visits within your healthcare organization. These questions cover scheduling the visit, logging on, provider communication and interactions, and willingness to recommend.
The telehealth survey easily adapts to your workflow. Organizations offering both in-person and telehealth visits can upload a single patient list for both visit types, so no additional work is needed after survey setup is complete.
Updated Survey Interface
Our new digital survey interface was designed to improve the user experience for patients while taking the survey. The update ensures a consistent experience and furthers patient accessibility. Over 90% of SurveyVitals digital surveys are completed on mobile devices.
If you are interested in enabling the telehealth survey for your organization or have questions about the updated survey interface, reach out to your SurveyVitals Account Manager or contact us using the blue chat icon at the bottom of the screen.
25% increase in those who self-report to be quarantining due to the virus
BOISE, ID – SurveyVitals, Inc., the nation’s leading digital patient experience survey provider, today released its findings of an ongoing nationwide study about how the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is impacting Americans’ lives. SurveyVitals collected and analyzed over 16,000 initial responses from patients across 1,800 healthcare practice locations in the U.S. to learn more about trending concerns related to COVID-19.
“We deployed this question set in partnership with our healthcare clients on the front lines to help educate the public about CDC recommendations while also capturing important feedback to make national benchmark data available,” said Blake Vosburgh, President of SurveyVitals. “Understanding public sentiment on COVID-19 is critical to help identify potential gaps in education and inform future outreach as we face this unprecedented global health crisis.”
A six-question addendum set about the coronavirus was provided to patients at the conclusion of a regularly administered SurveyVitals patient experience survey. Patient responses were captured using a three-pronged contact methodology: text message, email and interactive voice response call. Data was processed using SurveyVitals’ proprietary reporting platform with text comments undergoing sentiment and topical analysis.
Key Takeaways from SurveyVitals’ COVID-19 ‘Patient Views’ Report
As the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. rises, the number of people who report quarantining is increasing. Over the course of the study, there has been a 25% increase in the number of people indicating they are quarantining due to the virus.
The Silent Generation, those most at risk according to the CDC for severe complications due to COVID-19, report the highest levels of concern (60% strongly agree that the coronavirus is concerning), while Generation Z is seemingly the least concerned (40% strongly agree).
In open-text comments about the impact of the coronavirus, 19% of respondents mention or express concern about economic impact, and 12% address the difficulties of social isolation and the effects it could have on mental health.
There are noticeable differences between genders in response to the coronavirus. Women are more likely to share their thoughts (6%^), are more concerned about the virus (5%^), perceive a larger impact to their daily lives (2%^), and are quarantining more (13%^) than men.
The full aggregated report can be accessed here, with featured visualizations updating in real-time. SurveyVitals will amend key report findings as additional responses are collected.
For over 15 years, SurveyVitals’ mission has been to partner with healthcare organizations and providers to understand and improve the patient experience using innovative technology. In-depth, intuitive reporting tools provide actionable insights in real-time to support data-driven decision making. SurveyVitals offers comprehensive solutions, including a unique blend of digital patient surveys, CMS-approved CAHPS administration, and online reputation tools to help organizations of all sizes and specialties meet their goals. Join the over 16,000 clinicians who are already experiencing the SurveyVitals difference. To learn more visit www.SurveyVitals.com.
To learn more about SurveyVitals or request a demo, please click here or contact Devon Smith, Director of Strategic Programs (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Trend: Patients seeking resources on scheduling COVID-19 vaccine in satisfaction surveys March 17, 2021
An analysis of patient comments in the first two months of 2021 shows a trend in patients seeking information on how to schedule a COVID vaccine. Compared to the last two months of 2020, there has been a 301% increase in the mention of vaccines in free text patient comments. A limited vaccine supply has […]
MIPS Extreme & Uncontrollable Circumstances Application Extended March 5, 2021
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has reopened the extreme and uncontrollable circumstances exception application for the 2020 performance year due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Clinicians, groups, and virtual groups have until March 31, 2021 to submit an application requesting MIPS performance category reweighting. Data for the 2020 performance year that […]
Best Practice: Responding to Online Reviews March 3, 2021
Over 80% of patients turn to Google when looking for a new healthcare provider. SurveyVitals’ online reputation tools have helped boost client Google reviews by 281%. While increasing your number of online reviews is essential for attracting new patients, it’s equally important to respond to these reviews appropriately. Patients are certainly reading online reviews, but […]
Tips to Ease Telehealth Wait Time Concerns February 17, 2021
Wait times have long been a common concern for patients at office-based medical appointments. When telehealth skyrocketed in popularity last year, it became clear that wait times are even more of a frustration for patients during virtual visits. The numbers show wait times are the biggest pain point for patients who use telehealth. While the […]