With more private doctors being subject to reviews, Jane Braithwaite, Founder of Designated, highlights the importance of patients’ feedback and gives some excellent tips and advice on handling negative comments.

Patients’ Feedback

Most practices will be receiving patient feedback. This can range from the quiet chat with the receptionist or medical secretary to the – hopefully infrequent – irate phone call or email.

Measuring patient satisfaction and assessing areas for improvement is an important aspect of the Care Quality Commission assessment process, but it should also give you the opportunity to involve all your team members in taking responsibility for improving the patients’ experience.

Feedback sources

Particularly popular forums for online patient feedback can be your practice’s Facebook page or Google My Business account.

Positive reviews here can boost search results, they are easy to request and receive and they give potential patients good insights into your services.

Great reviews can be shared on your website or in articles, but you must ask for the patient’s express permission first to be compliant with GDPR.

On these public channels, there is the danger that a negative review can be widely seen but, if this complaint is handled promptly and professionally, it can often result in a positive outcome. Of course, sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day, and this is where we can help. We can provide social media experts to support you to manage complaints and enquiries quickly and professionally, as and when you need them most.

Many of our clients at Desig­nated Medical request patient reviews on specific medical sector websites such as Doctify, where feedback can be anonymous and complaints can be addressed.

Patients are sent a link to the website’s reviews page, or an iPad app is used to collect reviews at the practice. Similar review options are available on iwantgreatcare.org and My Health Specialist.

Satisfaction surveys

Clinics and doctors may choose to set up and implement their own in-house patient satisfaction survey and choose websites such as Smart Survey or Typeform

The results can be summarised into a report giving a focus for practice imp­rovements and could be reviewed at the monthly practice meeting and an action plan agreed to address any issues.

The ad hoc face-to-face or emailed feedback should also be consolidated to form the basis of your improvement plan, which can be used as evidence of listening to patients. We have a team of experienced administrators to help you create and deliver your unique surveys, and we can tailor our services to support your individual needs.

It’s important that an open and understanding culture be fostered within the team, with no fear of blame being apportioned, so that all feedback is actively shared and acted upon.

Use feedback to grow

Positive reviews should be celebrated too, and a dedicated marketing professional can maximise the potential of good feedback. 

This article is part of a series from the Independent Practitioner Today where Jane Braithwaite writes a regular feature. Download full article here.

Should you need support and advice for your private practice, please get in touch 020 7952 1008, or info@designatedmedical.com.