When Good Customer Experience Surveys Turn Bad.

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Is there such a thing as a ‘bad’ Patient Experience Survey?


You betcha!

Over the years, I’ve seen the good, the bad and the simply appalling.


Not too long ago, I had a minor surgical eye procedure which entailed multiple preliminary visits for scans and consultation, followed by a rather scary operation and post-op consultation. During the final visit, I was asked to fill out a “Patient Satisfaction Survey” form. Being in the “biz” I figured I ought to walk the talk and contribute to the cause.


Still with a patch over one eye, I was handed a dog-eared 6th generation photocopy of a two page form with over 30 questions and responses, which I was expected to complete under the watchful eye of a member of the practice staff. Apart from; being almost illegible, the intimidating circumstances and the poorly worded questions, I duly completed the form and watched in amazement as the staff member placed it in an open file tray on her desk.


I was left with the overall impression that the practice was merely paying lip service to the idea of asking for patient feedback. If they actually took it seriously, they would surely not be taking such a cavalier approach.


So what makes for a bad survey?

  • Convoluted survey instructions.
  • Too many questions.
  • Irrelevant questions.
  • Poorly phrased questions and loaded response options.
  • Failure to ask the questions about what matters to the customer.
  • Lack of opportunity to provide qualitative commentary.
  • Over-emphasis on certain aspects of the patient journey, to the exclusions of others.
  • An overriding impression that it’s just an afterthought and not being taken seriously.


A 2016 US study of online reviews of medical practices found that 96% of complaints found fault with the customer service – not the quality of care.

That was certainly my own experience at that eye clinic, though I doubt the questionnaire I completed will have any impact whatsoever.



Do satisfied patients and engaged staff impact on healthcare business profits?

Medical profits

Well, according to an article recently published in Harvard Business Review, it would seem that they do… and very much to the positive.




When Patient Experience and Employee Engagement Both Improve, Hospitals’ Ratings and Profits Climb

Health care executives know that patient experience and workforce engagement are intertwined, but few providers integrate and analyze these data to really understand the connection. Management tends to take it on faith that improving patient experience and enhancing employee engagement are good ideas — but faith alone doesn’t always lead to appropriate prioritization if it isn’t accompanied by insight into how issues relate to bottom-line performance.

When organizations have invested in comprehensive data collection for a few years, they see a time-lapse view of their performance that demonstrates whether it is improving. Leading organizations are taking it a step further, leveraging the data to understand how improvement on patient experience and/or employee engagement correlates with broader organizational performance.

Our latest research shows that hospitals that improve over time in distinct HCAHPS survey measures of patient experience or employee engagement also see improvement in patients’ global ratings of their care.

Further, the data reveal that there can be a compounding effect when organizations improve in both experience and engagement measures.

What’s more, we found a pronounced association between improvement in overall hospital rating and financial performance: for every one-point increase in hospital rating we saw a 0.2% increase in net operating profit margin.

When we removed critical access hospitals from the data set, every one-point increase in hospital rating was associated with a 0.4% increase in profit margin. In this scenario, a five-point increase in hospital rating correlates with a two percent profit-margin increase.


Given the sweeping and unstoppable market forces exerting pressure on health systems and hospitals, evidence of the compounding effect of patient experience and employee engagement on business outcomes should command the attention of health care leaders. The follow-on imperative is to home in on the key structure and process elements that drive better performance in both domains.



Medical Services Consumers – What Matters Most to them?

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I had the opportunity to deliver a presentation at #Cosmedicon2019 in the “Business of Beauty” workshop.


The paper discusses what defines “The Patient Experience” and looks at data from a recent international survey by the Beryl Institute:

“Consumer Perspectives on Patient Experience”.


To get the ball rolling, I posed three questions to the audience:

  •  Has the business of Aesthetic Medicine become more competitive over the past 5 years?
  • Do you expect it to become even more competitive in the next 5 years?
  • How do you propose to maintain a competitive advantage in an increasingly competitive business environment?


For a copy of the presentation, please email me at:




Advice for Doctors…from a Patient


We just had to share this.

A reminder of how it feels to be a patient, reliant on the empathy and patience of their doctor.



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What Aesthetic Procedures and Treatments are Trending Right Now?


RealSelf is a leading online marketplace for consumers to research cosmetic treatments and physicians. The RealSelf 2018 Aesthetics Trend Report was compiled by analysing user behaviour trends from U.S. consumers researching on RealSelf during 2018.


Trend Overview.

“While we continue to see high interest for surgical procedures, advancements in technology have expanded minimally invasive treatment options and helped to make aesthetics more accessible to women and men of all ages.” “The growth of minimally invasive procedures reflects the rising interest in treatment options that deliver results with little downtime, and the trends we’ve observed on RealSelf indicate this demand will continue to rise in 2019.”

Top ten other

Top Ten most reaserched


Key Findings:

Most Researched Minimally Invasive Treatments: Interest in Injectables Remains High

Injectables continue to be a top trend and were some of the most researched treatments in 2018, with three out of the top 10 most researched minimally invasive procedures being injectables.

Most Researched Surgical Treatments: Procedures for the Breasts, Tummy Top the List

Interest in surgical treatments for the breasts, from augmentation to lifts to reduction, remained high in 2018. While breast augmentation leads the top 10 list, breast reduction is also popular, coming in at No.7. Mommy makeover follows at No. 8, and breast lift rounds out the list at No. 10.

On the Rise: Treatments Designed to Improve Skin

Treatments that improve skin conditions—from acne to scars to discoloration—saw rapid interest growth in 2018, taking five spots on the top 10 list of fastest-growing minimally invasive treatments.


Hair Growth Treatments Trending Up

A growing number of consumers are researching hair restoration, with two treatments making the top 10 list of fastest-growing minimally invasive treatments. PRP for Hair Loss takes the No. 4 spot with 20 percent growth compared to 2017.


Interest in Niche Surgical Procedures for the Face, Ears Increasing

Topping the surgical list with the highest year-over-year growth is thread lift, which saw a 42 percent jump in interest compared to 2017.


The 2019 Aesthetics Watch List

 The Year of the Toxins

According to RealSelf, interest in Botox is increasing the fastest among 18- to 24-year-old RealSelf users. While Botox is the frontrunner today, up-and-coming entrants from companies like Revance and Evolus could bring increased competition to the neuromodulator market.

Less Invasive Alternatives to Traditional Procedures

This year saw sizable spikes in interest for nonsurgical treatments that offer a less invasive alternative to traditional surgery. The body contouring treatment Emsculpt, which ranked among the top emerging treatments of 2018, is one example.

Another is the off-label use of fillers. Sculptra Aesthetic, which saw 31 percent interest growth last year, is FDA-approved to treat facial wrinkles, but a growing number of doctors are using the injectable for buttock augmentation.

Expanded Conversations About Modern Beauty

Celebrities and other influencers have helped elevate the conversation and reduce the stigma around cosmetic procedures by sharing their treatment experiences on social media. As advancements in technology help make aesthetics accessible to a wider audience, more people have the ability to choose procedures that support their individuality and personal definition of beauty.

Exciting New Feature – Adding Photos to Patient Feedback Surveys

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We’re delighted to bring you news about an exciting new feature available on our Patient Experience Feedback Programs.

When your patients just can’t find the words to express how over the moon they are about their results, now they can actually show you.

The brand new “Photo Upload Facility” allows patients to attach a picture when completing their survey response. These might be images of post-treatment outcomes or happy patient lifestyle shots (e.g. selfies) etc.

INSIGHT clients who currently use their Access Portal to review individual survey responses, can then download the photo and retain it in their patient files or potentially use it in your social media marketing (subject to industry regulation).

JPG and JPEG file types can be uploaded.

Note: This new feature is available at no additional cost on all our online Patient Experience Programs.


Please contact us if you’d like to discuss adding a Photo Upload to your patient survey questionnaire.

Our article recently published in Aesthetic Medical Practitioner magazine.

Consumer Perspectives On Patient Experience in Medical Practices.

New Study Data.

AMP 2018 Perspectives on Patient Experience


Winter is Coming

2018 Patient Experience Consumer Study


(Just released by The Beryl Institute)

Healthcare professionals have taken major steps to understand, measure, and improve the Patient & Family Experience. But do consumers really care about this?

The Beryl Institute’s inaugural consumer study explores consumers’ viewpoint on healthcare and the patient experience and how this fits into their broader set of expectations around health and healthcare delivery. The first of its kind global research, the study engaged 2,000 respondents from five countries representing four continents sharing insights from consumers of care on the patient experience – its importance, critical factors and value.


According to the research:

  • Consumers confirm patient experience extremely important to them overall
  • Patient experience is personal and connected to how people view their health outcomes overall
  • Consumers affirm human interactions most important to them in assessing patient experience, followed by processes and then place.
  • Of greatest importance to consumers is how they are connected with as human beings with a focus on listening, communicating clearly and being treated with dignity and respect
  • Consumers confirm they see experience as the integration of all they encounter in healthcare from quality and safety to service, cost and more
  • People easily recall their healthcare experiences, especially those positive in nature, and the top thing they do, for both positive and negative encounters, is tell others.
  • Patient Experience is significant to the healthcare decisions of consumers
  • Recommendations and referrals far outweigh everything else in making health decisions and choices.



Effective Leadership in a Medical Practice

A very incisive article on Medical Practice Leadership, discussing the various styles and challenges for business owners and directors.

Well worth taking a few minutes to read:


“Working with doctors who are becoming medical business owners, I find one of the greatest challenges they face is identifying where they fit within their own organisation. Going into private practice they find themselves suddenly thrust into a position of leadership as the director of the business. Yet at the same time they are working in the business, day-to-day, shoulder-to-shoulder with their clinical and administration team. Having an understanding of and applying effective leadership skills can be the key to a successful business.”


Full article by Hanya Oversby at: