Unit 5. Quality Assurance and Quality Improvement
Quality Assurance & Quality Improvement

Section 3. Measuring to Improve Quality

Patient-Satisfaction Surveys

Patient satisfaction is a key factor in the development of a quality program and in reducing risk. Talk to state dental board members, and they will tell you that patients who like their dental experience are far less likely to file complaints. The reason for that is simple. Patients who feel good about their dental experience are generally those that are treated in a kind and friendly manner by the staff, are seen in a timely manner, are not subject to hectic schedules, have their treatment and cost clearly explained, and receive quality care. Those patients are much more forgiving when things go wrong, especially when the dentist follows up with them effectively. Patient-satisfaction surveys measure the mood of your patients. This is critical information for you to know.

Patient-satisfaction scores should be a regular topic of your monthly staff meetings. If patients are telling you they don’t like your wait times for appointments, analyze ways to correct that. Out-of-control schedules are a true quality problem. If your scores tell you that your patients feel unwelcome, it is not sufficient just to tell your staff to be nice to your patients. There are staff-training techniques that are free to use, such as Sharp’s AIDET: Five Steps to Achieving Satisfaction, which can be used to improve patient perceptions. Bottom line, treat patient satisfaction as you would any other quality issue in your program. The design, administration, and analysis of patient-satisfaction surveys are covered in detail in Section 4.


Patient-Satisfaction Survey Examples: