Monthly Outpatient Surveys, for WellSpan Health
These surveys, begun in 2008, measure patient satisfaction with WellSpan Health’s outpatient facilities, including laboratories, imaging facilities, and specialty clinics. Like all health care providers, WellSpan faces many challenges and opportunities as a result of both rapid growth and the changing nature of healthcare delivery in the U.S. The Center designed these surveys to track consumer perception over time and provide the organization with the information it needs to improve patient care and satisfaction. Each month, we interview 400 - 500 patients who recently visited one of WellSpan’s facilities. Results are reported to WellSpan’s senior management monthly through the use of a dynamic electronic reporting system.
Every month, WellSpan provides the Center with a complete electronic list of patients who visited selected outpatient service areas during the prior week. Center staff combine the patient lists, remove duplicate patients, and randomly sample patients from each service area. Respondents are interviewed by telephone about their experiences during a specific visit. The Center uses its most experienced interviewers for these surveys, all of whom have had additional training specific to the requirements of these highly personal interviews, including confidentiality issues and how to document problems that require follow-up from WellSpan.
To develop the surveys, we collaborated closely with WellSpan’s management over a period of months, working to fully understand the organization—its goals, concerns, patients, and competitive position—so the research would be customized to be as informative as possible. The result is a highly effective and dynamic questionnaire. Core questions are asked of every patient, regardless of the facility visited or the services received. Additional custom questions are asked depending on the facility and service. Each quarter the Center works with WellSpan to reassess the survey and make changes depending on which facilities and services are being evaluated.
Both quarterly and yearly, the Center provides a comprehensive analysis of findings. Reports break down the data by different facilities, departments, and entities, as well as summarizing for all facilities as a whole. Data from the different entities are compared to the organization as a whole and to results from previous quarters. Each summary report contains a marginal frequency report, showing the survey questionnaire and the responses to each question, and a summary frequency report, which present the results of each survey question for all ambulatory patients ordered according to survey dimensions. Dimension scores for each WellSpan department, along with response rate information among survey participants, are also included in every report.
In 2012, in addition to providing written reports, the Center created an electronic dynamic reporting system—the Wellspan Ambulatory Survey Interface. This new system provides additional detail and in-depth analysis to WellSpan management, who can access the information electronically. The Interface summarizes 12 – 15 months of patient responses in a simple and highly interactive format. Users can query different time periods and service areas, particular departments, and individual survey questions.