The merits of measuring patient satisfaction in radiology practices have been well established.
“Happy patients will come back to your facility for repeat imaging,” said Olga R. Brook, MD, the clinical director of CT services at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston. “If they need something to be followed up on, they will follow your instructions much better and the whole procedure or imaging will be better.”
This mutually beneficial relationship drives the need to gauge patient satisfaction as accurately and completely as possible, but methods differ from practice to practice, said Brook, who will discuss her experience with in-hospital electronic kiosks at RSNA 2017.
The “kiosks” at BIDMC are essentially tablets placed in waiting rooms or corridors near exit elevators. Compared to emailed survey requests, they generate greater response rates and—given their immediate feedback—are less prone to recall bias. In addition, Brook said, some patients are more likely to fear surveys sent via email are not actually anonymous.
At BIDMC, radiology technicians are asked to direct patients to the kiosks as they leave. Brook noted the techs need to be reminded of this strategy every few months, with response rates typically spiking after each reminder.
“It can be very easily applied to other practices,” Brook said. “The only weak spot is where to put those kiosks and that’s something that you have to assess within that specific practice—put them in different spots and see what is the response rate. Definitely, certain things have more effect than others. For example, we found that next to slow elevators you get more responses than next to fast elevators because the elevator is there and patients just want to go home.”
Brook credited Aideen Snell, the service excellence program manager at BIDMC, for developing the patient satisfaction surveys and overseeing the best way to implement them.
They’ve found the patient-receptionist interaction is the most important predictor of whether a patient leaves the hospital happy.
“It’s just respect and dignity, how patients are treated by the receptionist,” Brook said. “And that’s something that is relatively easy to work on and that’s been repeated by multiple other studies in other industries and also in radiology.”