How to Conduct Healthcare Surveys

Did you know that
two-thirds of senior-level healthcare professionals say they send
patient satisfaction
to get feedback? And 86% of patients who receive feedback
surveys are happy to take them? But that’s not all. According to our
research, healthcare
professionals use surveys to improve many aspects of their medical
organisation, from measuring employee engagement to
diagnosing their patient safety culture.

But if you’re conducting healthcare assessment surveys, the feedback
you collect can only help you improve your organisation if you get
accurate data that’ll give you actionable results. Not sure where to
start when it comes to writing healthcare survey questions?
SurveyMonkey’s got your back.

Healthcare survey question-writing tips

What do you want to know? You might conduct healthcare assessment
surveys to check in on patients after office visits to minimize
unnecessary follow-up appointments. But a follow-up survey will be very
different than one measuring how comfortable your nursing staff feel
about implementing new state regulations. Use
these sample healthcare assessment survey templates and
question-writing tips to ensure the quality of your data.


The best sample healthcare surveys don’t just ask for useful
information—they do so in a way that helps respondents answer
accurately and honestly. But how do you do that? SurveyMonkey’s team of
experts removes the mystery for you. Follow these healthcare survey
tips from our survey scientists to enable survey takers to say exactly
what they mean.

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data, and best practices for using surveys to transform your
healthcare organisation.

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Set a goal for your survey

The best surveys start with a clear
. It determines who you survey—and what and how you ask. For
example, if your goal is, “I want to track and monitor patient
between their appointments,” you might use a post-visit
patient satisfaction survey that is limited to questions that help you
achieve that goal—so you only collect relevant information.

Choose how to distribute the survey

If you need to conduct healthcare surveys during an office visit,
have patients answer questions on a
in the waiting room. For matters that are less
time-sensitive, you can survey patients and employees through email,
social media, or your website. Learn about all of the ways you can
collect<br /> survey feedback.

Guard anonymity and confidentiality

Most people are willing to answer critical or embarrassing
questions honestly if they know their responses will stay private.
If the results will be anonymous, tell this clearly to your
respondents before they begin the survey.

How to write healthcare survey questions

Here are tips and tricks to writing good healthcare assessment
survey questions. Follow these guidelines to make sure you’re sending
accurate example healthcare questionnaires
so you conduct healthcare surveys that yield good data.

Order questions carefully

Engage respondents early by starting with simple questions, such as
“Our records show that you got care from your healthcare provider. Is
that right?”

Beginning your healthcare polls with an example survey question like
this also helps you weed out those whose feedback is not relevant to
your goal, and ensures you are surveying the right group. Cluster
related questions together. Build trust by waiting to ask about
sensitive issues—such as illegal drug use—until later.

Define your terms

Careful word choice eliminates guesswork both for your survey
takers, and for you, when you analyse responses. Remove ambiguity by
watching out for these pitfalls:

  • Avoid jargon when surveying patients or
    other laypersons. If you must use medical lingo, define it

  • Eliminate unclear qualifiers. For example,
    don’t merely ask patients whether they exercise “often.” Tell
    them “often” means “at least three times per week.”

  • Avoid inquiring about undefined time
    . When asking how frequently respondents do
    something, define a time period appropriate to your goals.

    • For instance, if you are a dentist trying to learn
      about the daily hygiene of your regular patients, you
      might ask a respondent how many times within the past
      12 months he has visited your office, and then ask how
      many times within the past week he has brushed his

Write unbiased survey questions

The way healthcare assessment survey questions are worded can
influence how people answer them. To be sure your respondents can say
what they mean, keep an eye out for these common mistakes.

  • Loaded or leading questions: Don’t bias
    your respondents by using emotionally charged language or
    phrases that imply you want to hear a certain answer. It’s
    better to ask neutrally what a patient thinks of your newly
    automated appointment confirmation system than to say, “Our new
    appointment confirmation system makes it easier to schedule
    visits. How helpful have you found it to be?”

  • Double-barrelled questions: Asking about two
    issues at once can be confusing. For example, “Is your
    prescription affordable, and do you remember to take it every
    day? Yes or No?” If a patient can answer yes to one question
    and no to the other, neither reply tells his doctor what she
    needs to know about barriers to his care.

  • Unbalanced questions: Surveys provide an
    opportunity for patients, employees, and others to give
    difficult feedback that might otherwise go unmentioned. Show
    them you welcome that input by including both positive and
    negative options in the question wording.

    • For example, “Over the course of your stay at this
      hospital, were you satisfied with the care you
      received, dissatisfied with the care you received, or
      neither satisfied nor dissatisfied with it?” Voicing
      the negative possibility shows you do not presume a
      positive response.

  • Overly-broad questions: Don’t ask sample
    survey questions that fail to isolate the information you
    really want to learn. If you need to know whether a patient has
    continued experiencing the back pain he mentioned in his recent
    appointment, asking “How do you feel since our meeting? Better
    or worse?” will not tell you specifically about his back.

Use open-ended questions sparingly

Whether or not you use open-ended survey questions—those that ask
survey takers to answer in their own words—depends on what kind of
information you seek, and what you intend to do with it. These
questions are more taxing for respondents, so they often get skipped.
They also produce data that is harder to quantify and share.

For example, if you want to show stakeholders how satisfied your
patients are, it is easiest to cite a clear statistic from a closed
question, such as, “91% of our patients said they would recommend us to
family and friends.” But open-ended questions have their place. They
are best for allowing respondents to explain why they answered another
question as they did, or to add feedback on topics not covered by the
example healthcare assessment survey.

Give your results some context

Some of your survey results will be self-explanatory, but not all of
them. If only 11% of your patients say they are “very satisfied” with
your hospital, but over 90% say either that they are “satisfied,”
“somewhat satisfied,” or “very satisfied,” should you celebrate?

Figure out what your data means by giving yourself an internal
benchmark. Repeat the online healthcare poll later to compare the
results. If your “very satisfied” category grows, you know you’re on
the right track.

You might also measure your results against an
external benchmark. With SurveyMonkey
, you can compare your survey results against data from
others in your industry.