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Patient Satisfaction Survey for Physical Therapy: What to Include

What constitutes an effective patient satisfaction survey for physical therapy? Here's what PT clinics need to know about creating one.

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Patient Satisfaction Surveys for Physical Therapy: Best Practices & What To Include

Whether you own a start-up, mid-sized or large physical therapy practice, delivering the best possible overall experiences for your patients to keep them satisfied and coming back is crucial to the success of your practice. Of course, many factors go into achieving patient satisfaction — from the ease of booking to quality of care, so knowing where to start making improvements can often be tricky.

Fortunately, with a patient satisfaction survey, physical therapy practices can better monitor patient satisfaction over time and pinpoint specific areas of concern that could adversely affect the patient experience. Keep reading to learn what to include in physical therapy patient satisfaction surveys to enhance a care plan from initial intake through discharge.

What is the Purpose of a Patient Satisfaction Survey?

Patient satisfaction surveys are a vital tool for PT practices to assess patient satisfaction and the quality of the physical therapy services they provide. It's hard to know where you can improve your service offerings or quality of care unless you ask. However, it can be uncomfortable for patients to address concerns directly with care providers. A survey format often encourages patients to speak honestly about any underlying concerns on their terms. As an added benefit, asking your patients for feedback on their visit shows that you care about providing the highest level of care possible.

Creating a patient satisfaction survey is the first step to understanding your benchmark for patient satisfaction, identifying gaps in quality, and developing improvement strategies. Additionally, satisfaction surveys are a critical feedback tool to ensure changes made to improve physical therapy care don't negatively affect the patient experience.

How to Create a Patient Satisfaction Survey

When looking to create effective patient satisfaction surveys for physical therapy, think of common touchpoints your patients experience when visiting your practice. For example, customer intake at the front desk, waiting time before an appointment, individual attention dedicated during an appointment, and ease of payment.

You'll need the right tools to develop a quality resource. Without the right surveying solutions, PT practices can encounter multiple missed feedback opportunities, ultimately driving poor patient experiences and even negatively impacting patient retention efforts.

The good news is a wide variety of survey solutions is available to physical therapy practices. For instance, online tools like SurveyMonkey offer easy-to-use PT patient satisfaction survey templates that can be digitally distributed to and returned by patients. If you prefer more traditional methods, online surveying tools can also help you develop patient satisfaction surveys that can be printed as a PDF file and physically distributed in-office or via the postal service.

Likewise, practices with an older demographic may prefer to leverage automated phone surveys. Consider using an integrated EHR system with communication capabilities to streamline all surveying options. EHR engagement software enables providers to organize and maintain survey efforts and enhance the patient experience with personalized messaging during and after an episode of care.

What to Include in a Patient Satisfaction Survey for Physical Therapy

With the proper survey creation tools for your PT operations, you're ready to create a patient satisfaction survey for physical therapy. When laying out your questionnaire, aim to include no more than ten questions at a time. Regardless of whether your patients had a positive or negative experience, they don't want to spend more than a couple of minutes completing your survey.

As for the questions themselves, strive to inquire about each operational component of your practice to gain valuable and actionable feedback. Questions should range from evaluating staff members' communication and impressions of the facility to the quality of physical therapy treatments and home exercise programs. Avoid binary yes or no questions and provide a 1-5 rating scale, with 1 meaning strongly disagree and 5 meaning strongly agree, to better gauge exact levels of patient satisfaction.

Example questions in a patient satisfaction survey for physical therapy could include:

  • My physical therapist and accompanying office staff were patient and courteous.
  • I was seen promptly for my appointment at my scheduled time.
  • My first impression of the physical therapy facility was positive.
  • I was satisfied with the overall quality of my PT care.
  • I would recommend this physical therapy practice to friends and family.

Aside from a sliding scale response, be sure to include an "additional comments" section at the end of each survey for patients to explain any questions or concerns in depth. Though initial 1-5 responses are helpful, the patients' comments will empower practices to make more granular, targeted adjustments to specific operational workflows that boost overall patient satisfaction.

Additional Considerations

When To Administer Your Survey

A patient survey program must consider a few additional elements to have beneficial value. First, allow patients to fill in these surveys during their appointment, during checkout, or as part of the discharge process. If patients cannot complete a questionnaire at the time of their visit, send follow-up emails after their appointment with links to an online patient satisfaction survey.

How To Administer Your Survey

Make it as simple as possible for patients to find and fill out your survey. That being said, also make it beneficial for a patient to fill out your survey. Incorporate rewards and incentives for patients who fill out the survey to get as much feedback as possible that you can use to enhance your PT operation. Incentives can include discounts or even branded merch from your practice.

What To Do With Your Survey Responses

Once your initial responses begin to roll in, analyze each completed survey. Evaluate the results to ensure you address patient concerns wherever necessary. To increase patients in your physical therapy clinic, conduct another patient satisfaction survey a few months after implementing any adjustments. These follow-up surveys will reveal how your efforts have impacted the patient experience and prove to patients that your practice truly appreciates their opinions.

The Bottom Line: Improving the PT Patient Experience

The bottom line of patient satisfaction surveys for physical therapy is that they're a reliable avenue to assess, measure and enhance the overall patient experience. By allowing your patients to express both the positive and negative aspects of their visit, PT practices are better equipped to make operational enhancements that can encourage higher patient satisfaction. Crafting an exceptional patient experience from the first visit throughout the patient's length of physical therapy treatment ensures repeat business and referrals to new patients.

Beyond patient satisfaction surveys for physical therapy, providers can further amplify the patient experience with all-in-one physical therapy EMR software. From streamlining scheduling and billing to simplifying appointment reminders and personalized messaging, the MWTherapy EMR product suite is designed to tackle all corners of patient care.

To learn how MWTherapy can take your patient experience to the next level, schedule a demo today.

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