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The link between Patient Satisfaction and Healthcare Employee Satisfaction

Many organizations conduct employee satisfaction surveys and just as many conduct customer satisfaction surveys. One aspect of satisfaction that many organizations fail to consider, however, is the correlation between the results of the employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction surveys. Nowhere is this more critical than in the health care industry where the employees and the patients have daily contact.

Customer and patient satisfaction surveys often contain very different types of questions, therefore, any review of the data should be based on trends and not on specific questions. The best way to start the review is to look at the overall averages between the two surveys. A quick average of all the responses of both surveys will give you a broad snapshot of the overall satisfaction levels throughout the organization as perceived by each set of stakeholders-the patients and the healthcare employees taking care of those patients. You can also combine the data to receive one overall average, which would represent a census of all stakeholders. Whether you combine the data into this over-arching mean or use a side-by-side comparison, this part of the review can be a critical component of the overall satisfaction survey.

Most patient satisfaction surveys will seek the patients' opinions on a particular job task performed by a healthcare individual or department during their treatment or stay at a hospital or medical facility. By surveying the patients, you could determine the average patient satisfaction level for that particular job task and compare it to the overall results from employee feedback in that same job task. This allows you to pinpoint specific areas of strengths and weaknesses from both the patients' and the employees' view.

Similarly, if your employee satisfaction survey covers the employee's perception of the job performance of people in other job tasks, you could review how the patients and employees feel about the third group. For example, doctors and patients might review the performance of nurses. This might result in a more direct comparison because it would factor out a certain amount of bias that might be introduced when an employee reviews people in his or her own job function.

A good survey software tool could help with both evaluations. The tool should be able to distribute surveys using the best methods for both staff and patients. For example, it should allow for both electronic and paper surveys for those without access or ability to take an electronic survey. Reports would generally not be able to combine the data from both patient satisfaction and employee satisfaction surveys because the nature of the questions would be different - but two different reports could be created and combined with an overview of the results. SurveyTracker E-Mail/Web is a survey software program that can do all of these tasks and more.

In the long run, both employee and patient satisfaction surveys are valuable tools that anyone in the healthcare industry should conduct to ensure the quality of their care and the happiness of all stakeholders. Whether the data can be - or should be - correlated is up to the individual institution. Just keep in mind that investigating beyond the simple statistics of one satisfaction survey can open up a whole new understanding of your environment, your employees, and your patients.