Measuring Patient Satisfaction for Improved Patient Services
Stephen Strasser and Rose Marie Davis
American College of Healthcare Executives, Melrose Park, IL
1991, 210 pp., $34
If you are looking for a dry, boring tome on patient satisfaction, do not read this book. Do read it, however, if you are looking for a lively and well-written publication by authors with practical experience in conducting patient satisfaction surveys.
Measuring Patient Satisfaction for Improved Patient Services is a testimonial to the dramatic effect patient satisfaction surveys can have on improving patient care. It includes information on why patient satisfaction surveys can be more beneficial than managers initially realize, what the costs and benefits are of surveying patients, what patient satisfaction surveys measure, how to analyze survey results, and how to put patient satisfaction results to work. The book also provides tools to determine the financial benefit of conducting patient satisfaction surveys.
The intended audience is all healthcare managers—from department managers to chief executive officers. Stephen Strasser and Rose Marie Davis write for readers who have years of experience with patient satisfaction surveys; they also write for those who are seriously considering conducting them. The book, replete with case examples and humor, should keep the interest of a diverse audience.
For those currently conducting patient satisfaction surveys, Strasser and Davis point out many easy-to-make mistakes—for example, unintentionally sending surveys to patients who died during their stay or to obstetric patients who did not have healthy babies. The authors also stress the importance of a good system of triage of the surveys for both risk management and public relations purposes.
Strasser and Davis also offer helpful cost estimates for implementing a patient satisfaction process, ranging from a deluxe to an economy approach. Measuring Patient Satisfaction for Improved Patient Services includes examples of survey instruments and explains the advantages and disadvantages of different survey distribution methods. For those planning to use consultants or in-house resources, it provides a good idea of the financial and human resources necessary to measure patient satisfaction.
Strasser and Davis ask the readers to provide input for the second edition. If the response is positive, the second edition will be even more valuable to those institutions which use patient satisfaction surveys as an important tool for improving quality.
With the many exciting advances in survey technology, such as scanning devices and decision support systems, patient satisfaction surveys will be able to provide managers with even more timely and comprehensive feedback.
Assistant Administrator, Planning Services
St. Vincent Hospital & Medical Center
Copyright © 1993 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3477.