Why Improving Patient Satisfaction is More Than a CAHPS Score

February 27, 2024 | By The InteliChart Team

patient satisfaction surveys

In the landscape of healthcare quality assessment, traditional metrics like CAHPS survey scores have long been the gold standard for evaluating patient satisfaction. However, relying solely on these standardized surveys may overlook crucial aspects of a positive patient experience, leading to an incomplete understanding of satisfaction levels. 

CAHPS surveys, while valuable in capturing certain aspects of patient-provider interactions, are inherently limited in their scope. By primarily focusing on logistical elements such as wait times, staff attitudes, and facility cleanliness, these surveys offer a narrow snapshot of the patient journey. They fail to encompass the myriad factors that contribute to patient satisfaction, including the role of technology in shaping positive patient experiences – especially those that occur outside of the visit. 

How to raise patient satisfaction in the digital age 

In today's digital age, patients' expectations extend beyond the confines of traditional survey metrics. They seek seamless interactions, personalized medical care, and the integration of technology to enhance their healthcare experiences. Thus, solely relying on CAHPS surveys to measure satisfaction overlooks the subliminal yet significant influence of technology on patient perceptions. 

This raises a critical question: Are we truly capturing the full spectrum of patient satisfaction when we rely solely on conventional metrics like CAHPS? 

In the pursuit of understanding patient satisfaction more comprehensively, studies have shed light on the intricate relationship between patient experiences, technology, and satisfaction levels. A recent poll which surveyed 2,000 patients uncovered compelling insights into the factors that influence patient satisfaction beyond the realms of traditional metrics. 

The study revealed that a staggering 73% of patients maintain mental "scorecards" of their healthcare experiences, suggesting that satisfaction extends far beyond the parameters captured by conventional surveys. 

Among the study's key findings is the significant role technology played in shaping patient perceptions of care quality. An overwhelming 90% of patients attributed high importance to the use of the latest technology in healthcare settings. This underscores the growing demand for innovative solutions that enhance the patient care experience and drive patient experience scores higher. 

Interestingly, patients' "scorecards" also encompassed factors such as the modernity of a healthcare provider's website, and the effectiveness of follow-up communication. These elements, often overlooked by traditional satisfaction metrics, play a crucial role in shaping patient perceptions, fostering satisfaction, and encouraging patient loyalty. 

The role of patient engagement technology in patient satisfaction 

In patient engagement, technology serves as a powerful ally, facilitating effective communication between patients and healthcare providers while enhancing overall satisfaction levels. From appointment reminders to population health tools that automate follow-up communication and patient education, patient engagement technology encompasses a wide array of solutions designed to streamline care delivery and improve patient interactions with their care teams. 

However, among the all the patient engagement tools available, two stand out as particularly impactful: digital intake and online patient self-scheduling. Digitized intake forms and online patient self-scheduling are associated with positive changes in physician communication. Over half of the poll respondents noted increased provider attentiveness (54%) and staff engagement (47%) following the implementation of these technologies. 

Digital intake 

Digital intake plays a pivotal role in shaping patient satisfaction. Nearly 80% of patients cited wait time as a significant factor influencing their decision to revisit a healthcare provider, with 42% admitting to having left a provider's office due to excessive wait times. 

Digital intake tools offer a solution to this common pain point, streamlining the check-in process and minimizing wait times. By digitizing patient intake forms and automating data collection, healthcare organizations can reduce administrative burdens, improve demographic accuracy, and enhance overall efficiency. With 68% of patients valuing a swift check-in process, organizations that embrace digital intake are poised to deliver a positive experience from the outset, setting the stage for enhanced patient satisfaction. 

Online appointments 

Online patient self-scheduling emerges as another cornerstone of patient engagement technology, with profound implications for satisfaction and retention. The majority of respondents in the study emphasized the importance of online appointment scheduling, indicating a preference for providers that offer this feature.  

In today's healthcare landscape, where patient-as-consumer mindset prevails and competition among providers intensifies, online scheduling is more than a convenience—it's a necessity. In response, the use of online scheduling is expected to grow by 41% in 2024. Healthcare organizations that fail to offer online scheduling or provide inadequate solutions risk alienating patients and giving market share to more tech-savvy competitors. 

patient scheduling online

Using patient engagement to directly raise patient satisfaction scores 

When used proactively, patient engagement can directly impact patient satisfaction metrics. Strategically incorporating digital surveys and two-way texting into post-visit follow-up can offer an immediate channel for capturing real-time patient feedback, giving providers an opportunity to proactively identify, measure, and address patient satisfaction levels before an official survey is distributed by your organization or a patient satisfaction survey company. 

Digital patient surveys 

Digital surveys, deployed right after a patient visit, are an invaluable tool for capturing real-time feedback. Unlike CAHPS surveys, which are distributed at set intervals and might not capture the immediacy of a patient's experience, digital surveys can be tailored to address specific aspects of a visit. This immediacy of survey responses ensures that feedback is both relevant and actionable, providing healthcare practices with the opportunity to make immediate improvements and prevent other patients from having a negative experience. 

Furthermore, the flexibility of digital patient experience surveys allows providers to evolve their questions based on emerging trends or feedback, ensuring that they remain at the forefront of patient satisfaction and stay one step ahead of CAHPS surveys. 

Two-way texting 

Two-way texting represents another powerful engagement tool, enabling direct communication between providers and patients. This technology facilitates immediate follow-up on patient visits, allowing providers to address negative feedback, answer questions, and gauge satisfaction in real-time. For instance, a simple text message asking patients to rate their satisfaction on a scale, or inquire if they have any lingering concerns, can elicit immediate responses that might otherwise go unvoiced. 

This direct line of communication enhances patient satisfaction by showing that providers care about their experience and offers a proactive approach to resolving issues. When patients express dissatisfaction or concerns through text, providers can take immediate action to rectify the situation, often before it affects the patient's overall perception of the healthcare provider. 

Increased patient provider communications lead to higher patient satisfaction 

As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, and with patient expectations increasingly influenced by technology, it is imperative for medical practices adopt innovative engagement tools. By doing so, they can ensure a more comprehensive and accurate measure of patient satisfaction, leading to improved patient experiences, higher satisfaction levels, and ultimately, better health outcomes and patient retention. 

However, optimizing patient engagement efforts to impact patient satisfaction requires more than just technology implementation. It necessitates a partnership with an experienced vendor who understands the nuances of patient engagement and can tailor strategies to meet the unique needs of each healthcare organization. An experienced partner can help navigate the complexities of integrating technology into healthcare settings, ensuring that patient engagement tools are used effectively to enhance satisfaction and improve overall quality of care.  


Maximize Your Patient Engagement Opportunities