Patient Satisfaction Surveys are unique from other types of satisfaction surveys because there is usually a large client base and that client base is frequently comprised of non-repeat customers. This creates both research design and survey design issues that must be considered.
From a research design perspective, this means that the customer contact database is likely to be larger and require more updates to remain current. This also means that timeliness of a patient survey is likely to be a greater issue because in order to address potential service failings patients must be surveyed in a timely fashion.
In regards to survey design, patient satisfaction surveys are often slightly more complicated due to the large number of contact points between a patient and their healthcare provider. It is important to address each of these facets to ensure quality remains consistent across the organization and the totality of the experience is a positive one. By focusing on the factors that would lead a patient to recommend a healthcare provider to others, a company will be able to isolate and identify what contact points and service elements are most critical to ensuring they receive positive “word of mouth.”
On a final note, the healthcare arena is a place where gathering survey data can be particularly useful. Patients may be less likely to provide direct negative feedback due to a lack of available alternatives and a desire to ensure they continue to receive quality treatment. Would you really want to tell the only orthopedic surgeon covered by your HMO that he has a very cold and brusque attitude? The ability to collect patient satisfaction data in a confidential way is particularly important for ensuring you receive quality data.