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A Beginner’s Guide to Patient Satisfaction Survey

Kate Williams

Last Updated:  

18 October 2023

7 min read

Implementing an effective patient satisfaction survey is an essential step in ensuring the delivery of quality healthcare services. There is a razzmatazz of information available everywhere, and it might get tough to find out which one is credible and which isn’t.

You’ll have to wade through a lot of information before arriving at the right one. The correct information is more pivotal in an industry like healthcare, where using wrong info can result in being sued for millions or killing your patients. None of these situations is ideal anywhere.

As a business, you must also know what your patients think of your treatment, the facilities provided, etc. This is why you need to conduct a patient satisfaction survey, which will help you improve your processes.

The patient satisfaction survey results can help bring better patient care and more significant ROI for your business. It can drastically change the way you do business. No matter how big an organization you are, keeping your customers satisfied is pivotal to the existence of it.

Why should you have a patient satisfaction survey?

Patient Satisfaction Survey questions should be drafted on a case-by-case basis.

Before we harp on why we should conduct patient satisfaction surveys, let’s understand what patient satisfaction is. It is a performance measure of health care quality.

While subjective and depends on the patient’s perception, it is difficult to measure or define. This is why conducting patient satisfaction surveys is a means to convert subjective opinions into quantifiable data.

By measuring patient satisfaction, you can get meaningful information from reliable patients. The patient satisfaction survey measures the hospital’s environment, staff’s care, technical skills, and communication.

Increases Revenue

Once you work on all the bottlenecks that affect your business, you can spend time and money on resources that need streamlining, thereby increasing your revenue.

Increases Loyalty

Numerous studies say how costly it is to get a new customer while making your existing customer use your services is much easier. Build a relationship with the patient based on the way you treat them.

When you work on the feedback given by the customer, you inadvertently retain customers, making them more loyal to you.

How to design a patient satisfaction survey

#1 Know what your objectives are

Identifying why you want to do something is the first step towards ensuring its success. The same goes when you are designing a patient satisfaction survey.

It would be best if you found out which areas you want to improve. The survey results might give you starkly different responses from what your expectations would have been. But it is always wise to be well prepared to have crystal-clear answers.

Would you like to know why the patient wait times are longer?

Are your patients given adequate information about all the procedures?

Can patients access their health records with ease?

Is there a way to improve consultation time?

These can be some aspects of patient satisfaction that you might want to ponder.

Instead of concentrating on your customers’ satisfaction, please find out how they could improve a particular experience.

For example, instead of asking, “How satisfied are you with the experience?” ask, “How satisfied are you with the time taken to complete the entire process from consultation to cure?”

This angle of questioning can lead to more actionable points that you can use to close the feedback loop.

Also, you must decide about the line of questioning.

Will you ask them about their overall experience with the brand or concentrate on disparate treatment sets?

Suppose you were to pick on specific sets of treatments. In that case, you might get responses that border on either extreme because the patient had a good or bad experience. In contrast, the general knowledge of the patient is usually based on the overall treatment.

Choose the most relevant channel in which you send the patient satisfaction survey questions.

#2 Draft survey questions

Remember that there are no questions for a patient satisfaction survey that can be used universally. It should be drafted on a case-by-case basis. Here are a few tips on drafting the right questions for a patient satisfaction survey.

Make sure the questions relate to patient satisfaction

While you can ask any question to the patient, ensure that it revolves around their satisfaction.

It could contain questions on the patient’s care, the care and effort put in by the staff, general treatment methodologies, swiftness in action, etc. Questions around these areas are reasonable grounds for starting your patient satisfaction survey.

Sample questions you can ask in the Patient Satisfaction Survey

The questions should be worded to fetch helpful feedback from your customers. This is why you need to word your questions appropriately.

Here are a few sample questions that you can use. When you frame your patient satisfaction survey questionnaire, these questions will give you a better understanding.

‘How satisfied are you with the cleanliness of the facility?’

‘Were the staff courteous towards you?’

‘Are you happy with the way your issue was dealt with?’

‘Were you given proper information at each stage?’

‘Was your experience with the facility smooth?’

‘How seamless was the entire process from being admitted until discharge?’

‘Did you feel as if you were given the best service?’

‘Did the doctors treat you well?’

‘Will you refer your friends and family to this hospital again?’

These are just sample questions that you can use. But for the more specific type of information, you need to modify your questions accordingly.

Use different options

Instead of asking a Yes or No question to gauge patients’ satisfaction, giving them various options such as extremely satisfied, satisfied, not satisfied, and highly dissatisfied is better.

We would advise you not to use the Neutral option as you want to understand your patients’ feelings more accurately rather than a neutral answer, which doesn’t help.

Consistent scales

If one of the questions in the patient satisfaction survey uses a 5-point scale, please make sure the other questions follow the same format, too. Using a 7-point scale might confuse your respondents.

Apart from putting the respondent in a fix, it also becomes difficult to measure when you have all the responses collated.

Keep your patient satisfaction survey short and simple.


Net Promoter Score is one of the best methods for you to gauge the loyalty of your customers by asking them a simple question. We can rephrase the question to suit this survey.

“Would you recommend our hospital to a friend or family member?”

If they are open to recommending your service to a friend or family member, you can safely assume they are delighted with it.

Add a comments section.

Give a chance to add comments in the survey so they can add their feelings in their own words instead of relying upon your choice. It will help them articulate their feelings in graphic detail so that you can clearly understand what is bothering them.


Keep your surveys short and simple. Your patients will not be happy to answer many questions that will take their time. When taking surveys, ensure that you follow the KISS methodology. Abbreviated as Keep It Short and Simple, this should be the mantra to follow when deciding on the number of questions to ask for your patient satisfaction survey.

Ask clear questions

Continuing with the previous point where we asked you to keep your questions short and simple, here is another advice: ensure they are clear and do not confuse the respondent. It should not be vague, and the respondent should be able to respond without much of an afterthought.

#3 Choose the right channel for sharing the Patient Satisfaction Survey :

Depending on the number of patients and the kind of access you have to them, you must choose the most relevant channel to which you send the survey questions. While you can ask them over the phone, mail, or get them to your office, the most innovative option is sending your patient satisfaction survey via a tool like SurveySparrow.

Online survey tools not only simplify the process, but you can also view the results in different formats, including graphs, pie charts, bars, etc. You can use conditional logic to segment customers based on the experiences that are unique to them. Collating so much information via phone calls or in-person interviews is impossible.

In-person interviews can give you a clearer picture, but relying on them to survey many patients is practically impossible. Draft the survey in such a way that it takes minimum time.

Add a comments section in your patient satisfaction surveys.

#4 Ponder over the results

Once you have the results in front of you, now is the time to make changes based on the feedback received. Gather all the stakeholders and discuss the different departments whose work has a bearing on the feedback.

If there is an improvement in your current feedback scores, you need to list down the changes made and see if you can extrapolate it across the entire system. If not, see if there are other areas with scope for much improvement.

Continue this exercise for each department regarding patient satisfaction and take immediate steps to make things right. Discuss the various steps for addressing the concerns of the patients.

Since the feedback would involve comments about the staff, it is pivotal that you handle it sensitively.

Use the comments section in the survey form to find detailed patient responses. Expedite the work based on the comments here. When your customers (read patients) have taken the time to write a detailed review, you must respect their feedback and work on it.

#5 Close the feedback loop

Understand the various issues that your patients face based on the feedback from your patient satisfaction survey, and then take action. Closing the feedback loop is all about asking follow-up questions based on the survey answers and working on the feedback given.

Create a list of changes you want to make, outline how you want to take action and have a timeline before completing the entire process. Giving yourself a request will help you stick to a time duration.

You can expect a lot of resistance from the workers when you change the operational procedures followed for a long time. But you must make them understand the importance of the patient satisfaction survey and why you must close the feedback loop. Once they can understand the significance, it will be smooth sailing.

Kate Williams

Product Marketing Manager at SurveySparrow

Excels in empowering visionary companies through storytelling and strategic go-to-market planning. With extensive experience in product marketing and customer experience management, she is an accomplished author, podcast host, and mentor, sharing her expertise across diverse platforms and audiences.

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