Sharing Information to Help Patients Make Decisions

Dec 06, 2012 12:00 AM

Authors: Thomas Miller, MD , Sean Mulvihill, MD


Two years ago University of Utah Health Care made the switch from mailing paper patient satisfaction surveys to emailing electronic surveys to our patients.

We now receive more than 40,000 e-surveys each year, usually in less than 72 hours from the time of the patient’s visit to their health-care provider. This quick feedback allows us to distribute results so we can take actions to solve problems and recognize excellent service.

One surprise we found with e-surveys was that the feedback we received was much richer than that from paper surveys. Instead of one-line comments, we were receiving paragraphs, very detailed paragraphs, with explanations of what went right, and occasionally, what went wrong during a patient’s visit here.

The result has been a continual improvement in our patient satisfaction scores and the collection of great observations, both positive and negative, about our physicians and other health care providers.

We are pleased to announce we’ve decided to now share this information with all visitors to our Find A Physician website. Patients can search for a physician, learn about his or her background and training, and find out what current patients are saying about how that physician rates on nine key questions. It reflects our commitment to providing our patients with transparent information to help them feel comfortable with their selection of a particular physician.

Our ratings use a five-star system similar to most consumer rating sites. The star rating is calculated using the mean score provided on the survey, and currently, our lowest physician ranking is just 3.9 of 5 stars with the next lowest at 4.2. Among the more than 450 physicians with more than 30 survey responses, (a total of more than 40,000 surveys) the average satisfaction ranking is 4.7. The vast majority of our patients are very generous and positive in their comments, clearly articulating the value we provide.

Please note that while critical or negative comments are not edited as transparency is appreciated and expected by readers, the rare libelous or misappropriated comment is removed by our Exceptional Patient Experience web team before posting. We also remove any comments that might identify a patient, in the spirit of preserving their confidentiality. We are committed to posting positive and negative feedback.  However, we do not post comments that are libelous, profane or those that jeopardize patient privacy. 99.5% of all physician comments received in the last year have been posted unedited.

It’s also our practice to not post web rankings for new physicians for the first 6 months, and a provider must have a minimum of 30 surveys to be posted.

We encourage you to visit our Find A Physician website. We would love to hear your thoughts on this new service and any suggestions you have for helping us improve. Providing each of our visitors and patients with exceptional service is a key priority for University of Utah Health Care and we look forward to reading your comments below.