In order to grow your physical therapy clinic business, you have to understand your clients. Hearing their feedback, implementing solutions within your business to address their concerns and making changes to your business practices to better suit them should be top of mind. However, getting honest patient feedback can be difficult. Simply asking a patient what they think of your clinic or how they felt about filling out certain pieces of paperwork at the end of their appointment will most likely lead to bias feedback. Without implementing and testing multiple feedback processes, you’ll have a hard time determining how you can improve your clinic. In this article, we’ll explore different ways for you to generate opinions from your clients.
If you aren’t already collecting feedback using client surveys, it’s time to start! There are many ways you can go about collecting survey responses right away after a patient experiences your clinic. When a patient has finished filling out paperwork at the start of their visit, you can include a survey sheet for them to hand in when they leave the clinic. On this survey, be sure to ask questions as simple and broad as, “rate your experience today” as well as more detailed questions about the literacy of your paperwork upon check in, the friendliness of specific staff members, office layout and comfort, etc. You can also include detailed questions about the helpfulness of the forms, appointment making processes and their actual visit. In your survey form be sure to utilize both rating systems and text boxes to allow patients to make comments directly. You should have a process in place to follow up with comments, concerns and low ratings, as well as a process to thank patients for high ratings and positive feedback. Showing that you care about the time they took to complete this form is critical in order for you to get the feedback your clinic needs!
An old school way of collecting anonymous feedback, is the suggestion box. It’s been around forever simply because it works! People who have negative feedback or concerns often want to stay anonymous, so they don’t feel bad or awkward during their next visit (if they decide to come back!). Having a way for clients to submit suggestions about your processes and services without being tied to it is a great way to get truly honest feedback. Your suggestion box can be a simple blank piece of paper at the front waiting area or you can add questions on the paper to prompt specific types of suggestions. It’s important that you stay on top of checking the box and try your best to address any concerns that have been raised. If you are not regularly reading the suggestions, people won’t feel heard and will stop submitting. If the same concern has been brought up a few times, you could send an email or post a flyer in the office addressing it and stating your solution.
A more hands-on approach to generating clinic patient feedback is patient shadowing. If you have a regular patient, ask their consent to have a staff member shadow them throughout their appointment. From check-in to the moment they get into their car, this person should be taking notes without interfering with the patient’s process. The goal is for the patient to feel as though this is a normal, regular appointment and the shadower to experience the typical process in your clinic. The staff member you choose for this shadowing should be fairly new to the team. You can also have someone from outside your office shadow, to have truly unbiased feedback. The shadower should have a rough guideline of feedback to give, as well as open-ended feedback about the process as a whole or specifics.
Any new processes you put into place within your physical therapy clinic should be based on the needs of your staff and your patients. In order to properly obtain the information you need, you have to keep in mind patient confidentiality of course, as well as your business’ transparency. Before asking for any type of feedback, be sure to consult your lawyer and make sure that you are following any specific guidelines in order to be compliant. You will also want to provide clarity to your patients about why you are doing this, what will be done with the information and how they are protected. Never ask questions that are too personal and keep the focus on how you can improve!