There are a variety of patient follow-up methods that can be used to ensure proper feedback is received from patients. In general, the method utilized by the hospital should be tailored to the general population served. Younger patients may respond best to electronic communication, while older patients might appreciate the familiarity of mailed feedback forms or phone check-ins. When selecting a follow-up system be sure to analyze the patient population and what purpose the feedback serves for the hospital. Here are a few follow-up options:
- Mailed surveys: Materials sent through the mail are often patient-approved: They allow patients ample time to read and respond. But for this same reason they are inefficient for hospitals, which cannot use information that is outdated by the time it is returned to deduce patient health. Mailed materials also tend to be expensive, and only 1 to 2 percent of patients fill out mailed forms and return them to their hospital. Paper surveys also tend to be time consuming.
- Telephone check-ins: Phone calls are effective for instant patient well-being checks and are generally acceptable to a wide population of patients. However, telephones tend to remove the human touch from interactions, and callers can come across as cold and uncaring. Phone calls cost the hospital in time, and also requires additional staff.
- Email or texting: Preferred by tech-savvy patients, emailing and texting allows hospitals to receive immediate feedback, while giving patients time to formulate a thoughtful response (a privilege not always afforded over the phone). The process is automated, and therefore does not require additional staff, but can be seen as impersonal for the same reason.
- Hybrid systems: Combining electronic methods and live contact allows hospitals to contact patients who do not respond electronically after a set time by phone or mail. This approach can lower costs, while still providing personal follow-ups for patients who prefer it.
Patient Approved is another follow-up option that hospitals may take advantage of. Our system catalogs real time feedback from patients regarding doctors, healthcare and hospital environment. Hospitals and doctors can access this feedback at any time, and are also able to respond to specific reviews.