Patient satisfaction is a priority for hospitals all over the United States. Healthcare facilities use patient surveys to determine how satisfied patients are with the services they received. The data received is used by senior managers for performance evaluations, training programs, and compensation decisions.
• Press Ganey Associates is an American company that develops and distributes patient satisfaction surveys. Its surveys are used by around 40% of American hospitals.
• Press Ganey surveys gather information about doctors from patients with the goal of improving the quality, safety, and experience of patient care.
It is a list of questions that asks a patient about their experience with a particular doctor or medical facility after a visit. Patients are randomly selected to participate in the survey. Those who are chosen will receive the survey through regular mail, email, or text message.
How is The Press Ganey Survey Conducted?
Patients who have been treated receive surveys that ask them their impressions of the hospital, its nurses, doctors, and staff. Press Ganey Associates gathers the data and analyzes it and then sends feedback back to a healthcare facility. The feedback received is used for decision-making purposes.
What Questions Are Asked?
Press Ganey Associates queries patients on their experience with healthcare providers. Questions are asked about things like patient privacy and safety and whether a patient can recommend the doctor to others.
• Questions asked center on how it went down when a patient visited a doctor. Some questions inquire about communication. The patient’s answers will help to improve how a doctor listens and talks to patients.
• Several questions focus on the patient’s perception of the caregiver. Survey answers reveal how patients think and feel about the medical practitioners who served them. Press Ganey Associates has different types of patient surveys.
Some of the questions asked include:
• How well was the medical issue explained by the doctor?
• How likely are you to recommend the doctor to a family member or friend?
• Did the doctor listen to your worries and questions?
• Did the doctor explain all care choices?
• Were you included in your care decisions?
Press Ganey administers surveys in a strictly confidential manner. The identity of respondents is not revealed in any capacity. However, information is not collected anonymously because of the need to group respondents but personally identifiable information like name, email, phone number, and address are not collected.
Press Ganey measures patient satisfaction on a five-point scale where 5 is the highest score and 1 is the lowest score. A patient chooses among five responses: very good, good, fair, poor, and very poor. The top score “5” corresponds to words such as “Excellent”, “Outstanding” or “Always”.
• “Percentage of Top”- With Press Ganey surveys, the doctor’s score is based on the percentage of patients who gave them the top score. Therefore, any score that is not a “5” doesn’t count. If 100% of patients give a doctor the top score, they will get a “5”.
Scores of doctors who work in urgent care or hospitals with anesthesia are not shown. The ratings of a doctor who has less than 30 surveys will also not be shown.
Patients need quality information to make informed decisions about their healthcare choices. Doctor reviews, ratings, and comments provide prospective patients with insights into the level of care they should expect from a particular doctor. They get to know the experiences of previous patients. A doctor who delivered in the past is likely to deliver in the present.
• Patient satisfaction information also helps hospitals to review their procedures, policies, and communication techniques to ensure they offer patients with the best care possible.
Clients That Use Press Ganey Surveys
• Nursing homes
• Long-term care hospitals
• Orthopedic rehabilitation centers
• Radiology and imaging centers
• Dialysis facilities
• Birth centers
• Addiction treatment centers
Survey data can be used to benchmark a healthcare facility against other facilities at the national, regional, and local levels. Press Ganey surveys are useful for benchmarking because of their standardized nature and the fact that they are used by many hospitals.
With Press Ganey Associates, data is comparable between hospitals. Therefore, consumers will not only see how a hospital is performing, but they can compare it with other hospitals.
2. Transparency & Accountability
The public reporting and sharing of patient satisfaction information increase the accountability and transparency of the quality of service provided by healthcare facilities. Feedback provided by patients is important for improving the level of service and care.
3. Patient Experience
The relationship a doctor has with patients is the essence of their practice. Therefore, gathering feedback about the patient experience can make the difference between losing or keeping a patient. Outpatient surveys will help a health professional to optimize the patient experience.
4. Patient Retention
Most practices lose around 50% of their patient base every five years. It is assured that a practice is going to lose patients for different reasons; some patients are hard to please. However, some measures can be undertaken to promote patient retention.
Patient satisfaction surveys can be utilized to identify arising issues which should be addressed on time; this will promote patient loyalty.
5. Patient Engagement
Improving patient experiences using Press Ganey surveys increases the likelihood that patients and their families will become more engaged in their health outcomes. Increased patient engagement will decrease medication errors and the length of hospital stays.
6. Patient Acquisition
Many marketing techniques can be used to attract new patients to a healthcare business. However, word of mouth is the lifeblood of any service business. A patient that feels valued and has a positive experience is likely to refer their family and friends to a facility.
Complaints about Press Ganey Surveys
Some doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals have started questioning the usefulness of Press Ganey surveys. There are drawbacks to focusing too much on patient satisfaction. Some hospital administrators feel that they are pressured by boards to improve patient satisfaction based on data obtained from Press Ganey Associates.
• The Survey Presumes Healthcare is a Service Industry
Some medical practitioners argue that Press Ganey has nothing to do with appropriate medical care, sound medical judgment, and patient safety. That is because it is about patient experience, instead of safety or medicine. It focuses on the pleasurable experience of being in a hospital.
At times, especially during pandemic periods like Covid-19, keeping a patient alive is more important than providing comfort. Staying alive can be more important than lack of privacy or comfort, which are metrics measured by Press Ganey surveys.
Some argue that Press Ganey compares a visit to a healthcare provider to other customer experiences such as a trip to Disney World, a hotel stay, or a massage.
• 100% Patient Satisfaction Is Not Possible
Another criticism of Press Ganey is that 100% patient satisfaction is not possible. Giving a patient everything that they want can lead to a patient’s death even though it can increase patient satisfaction rating. Patients sometimes make dangerous and unethical requests. For a doctor who is doing their job well, it is expected that a small minority of patients will leave disappointed.
• Creates a Dilemma
Press Ganey surveys can create a dilemma when nurses and doctors have to choose between getting good scores or giving time-consuming care to critically-ill patients. When an emergency physician spends more time with a very sick patient because they require stabilization, other patients’ perceptions of care can be skewed. After spending over an hour attending to the critically-ill patient, the other patients who have had to wait can give low scores to the doctor.
• Doesn’t Tell the Whole Story
Some healthcare professionals believe that Press Ganey doesn’t tell the whole story which makes the data obtained from the surveys unreliable. The action of one department can affect the scores of another department. For example, when a doctor spends more time with a critically ill patient, this can improve the scores of another department.
• Sample Size & Response Rate
The small sample size of Press Ganey surveys can increase the margin of error but hospital administrators might not be aware of that. Low response rate is also an issue.
Using the improvement portal can make a substantial difference inside of your medical hub. Stanford Healthcare and Associates came to Profile Defenders in 2017 to rework their customer outreach program and internal doctor survey’s. The ratings and reviews for Profile Defenders highly customized services puts them in a class above all others. For those looking at other well known companies there is reputation.com, podium.com, birdeye.com and vendasta.com. Profile Defenders is the most cost effective and customizable and Press Ganey is the most focused solely on the healthcare industry.
Knowing the benefits and drawbacks of Press Ganey surveys is important. Hospital administrators should be trained on how to properly evaluate these surveys. Properly disseminating information to healthcare providers can allay fears about the efficacy of these surveys.