7 tips on how to get the most from your patient experience survey

Designing a patient survey questionnaire whether it’s to measure patient satisfaction or patient experience is more than simply writing some questions expecting patients to understand them and give reliable and valid answers. Designing a patient satisfaction or experience questionnaire involves  initiating  a relationship with respondents  that stimulates their interest and encourages them to provide the best answers possible.

  • UNDERSTAND THE BIG PICTURE  It is essential that the overall objectives of the patient survey are defined at the outset  i.e. the research question. This will include  establishing the purpose of the survey e.g. measuring patient satisfaction, experience and outcomes, clarifying the target population the questionnaire will be administered to e.g. patient group, disease type, how the information will be collected e.g. paper/pencil, interview, web and how that information will be used e.g. improve patient experience.
  • START AT THE END The aims of the patient survey questionnaire will  provide the basis for the structure of the questionnaire and developing the content to collect the information required to address the study aims e.g. patient satisfaction or experiences of the different touch points of the patient’s  journey, access to treatment etc.
  • DEVELOP THE STRUCTURE Once the main areas of information that are required to meet the aims and objectives of the study are defined, the overall structure of the questionnaire can be developed e.g. questions about the patient’s experience of and or satisfaction with treatment from diagnosis should be in a chronological order, general questions should be asked before specific questions.
  • CHOOSE THE QUESTION TYPE Choosing the correct type of question for your survey will involve making decisions such as whether to use an open or closed question,  a ‘don’t know’ response option,  rating scales or grids etc.
  • CRAFT A GOOD QUESTION The principle aim in writing a survey question is to ensure that it means the same to all the respondents, who should be able to respond with as accurate a response as possible. This will include for example: using simple language, avoiding the use of technical terms and abbreviations as well as only ask questions that are relevant to the respondent.
  • GET THE LAYOUT & SEQUENCING RIGHT Attention to the design and layout of a patient satisfaction or experience questionnaire is an important stage in its development and  includes length, question and answer format, font, instructions and routing.
  • PILOT & PERFECT THE QUESTIONNAIRE Pre-testing the patient questionnaire can highlight any problems with it, including  length, understanding, missing questions etc. Pre-tests can be carried out using focus groups and, more recently, cognitive aspects of survey methodology (CASM), which draws on the theories of cognitive psychology and the use of cognitive laboratory techniques to improve questionnaire design.

If you would like to obtain the white paper ” 7 -Tips you need to know for successful questionnaire design”   click here

Do you have any tips you would like to add to this list?

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Categories: Patient reported experience

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2 replies

  1. Reblogged this on Health Services Authors and commented:
    Designing a questionnaires is a part of the health services research whose importance is too often under estimated and that is implemented more rapidly than it would deserve. The importance of how the questions are featured by the searcher is highlighted in the blog written by Keith Meadows, a Health Psychologist.

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