5 Easy Rules for Creating Patient Surveys

In a recent post, I covered 3 reasons every medical and dental practice should invest in patient surveying. But for many practices, especially smaller ones, making the decision to survey can be a challenging one.

While the idea of asking patients how you’re doing sounds simple, the truth is, creating a survey that gets you meaningful results is both an art and a science. With a little planning, however, you can create, deliver and analyze a survey that gives you real insight into your patients’ expectations, their experience, and their satisfaction with your practice.

The easiest way to get started is to commit to a plan. There are several proven surveying apps or services available for just about any price range. Start by checking out the latest information and CAHPS and AHRQ guidelines. You can even use one of their templates or go straight to a survey app or service, like SurveyMonkey or Formstack.

Then, stick to these 5 guidelines.

  1. KISS (Keep It Short and Simple)
    That’s a rule that almost always applies. But it’s especially helpful if you’re just starting out. You’re looking for a starting gauge: how does your practice measure up against your patients’ expectations – and other providers? Boost your completion rate by creating a survey that your patients can complete in roughly 5 minutes and wording your questions in a way that keeps them easy to grasp and answer.
  1. Set Your Survey Goals.
    What do you need to know in order to increase satisfaction and get a foothold into building greater loyalty? Try sticking to these main areas:

    • Quality of Health Care
    • Ease of Appointment and Communication
    • Strength of Relationship with Your Practice
    • Likelihood to Recommend You
  1. Choose a Scale and Stick to It
    A 10 point scale allows for greater nuance in measuring satisfaction. It also forces your patients to choose a number on the high side or the low side because there’s no “middle number.” A 5-point scale is simpler to administer, answer, and analyze. But , of course, if you end up with all 3’s, it’s hard to know whether your patient sees something as favorable or unfavorable.
  1. Promise Your Patients: You’ll Act on What You Learn
    Surveys are not a “nice to know” exercise. The minute you put one out there, you’ve made a promise — whether stated or implied – that you intend to listen, learn, and correct whatever needs attention. When patients give you the gift of their time and honesty, you owe them a Thank You that includes an summary of what you learned and what happens next.
  1. Keep Your Promises
    If you’re wondering why I’m so focused on patient surveying, here’s why: if you’re like many health care providers, your patients’ expectations have probably skyrocketed in the past few years, especially when it comes to communication, access to care, and ease of appointment setting.

That’s where we can help. At Skybridge Americas, we make appointment setting a positive, caring, quick and easy experience. To learn more, please reach out. We would love to help you improve your patient satisfaction and experience.


by Bobby Matthews
Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing
Skybridge Americas


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