Patient surveys are crucial tools for assessing patient satisfaction. And research has shown that 86% of patients find experience surveys valuable. But many facilities have low response rates. What gives? Why aren’t patients filling out the surveys? And how can you improve your ASC’s patient survey response rate?

Why is the response rate important?

Simply put, the response rate is the number of people who filled out your survey divided by the number of people who had the opportunity to fill out the survey. Low response rates can lead to skewed results, which make ASC leaders throw up their hands in frustration.

Commonly, the only patients who respond to surveys are the ones who either had a 5-star experience or who were very unhappy. These responses don’t give you any real, actionable information.

Put yourself in the patient’s shoes.

Most people who have just gotten out of surgery aren’t going to fill out a paper survey. And sending home a slip of paper to mail back in will get knocked to the end of a patient’s to-do list. Rather, make surveys accessible and convenient.

One of the best ways to make surveys accessible is to go digital. Let patients fill out questionnaires on their own time with their phone, tablet, or computer. And if you’re worried that patients will forget to fill the survey out, invest in communication software that can send automated, personalized reminders.

Make the benefits clear to the patient.

When patients make the connection that surveys help them get better care, they are more likely to fill them out. Incorporate language into the survey that reminds patients that these assessments help us to provide better treatment.

Additionally, nurses can explain the benefits of the surveys before surgery. Remind patients that their feedback is valuable and it will be listened to.

Have a clear follow-up plan in place.

If we are reminding patients that their feedback will be listened to, we have to follow up to make them feel heard. Research has shown that patients are more likely to take a survey when they receive a follow-up phone call, text, or online chat after the fact.

We don’t have time to respond to every single survey with a phone call. But we can make sure we are reading surveys and following up on the ones that warrant it. Even an automated “thank you” text can go a long way in engaging our patients and improving our care!