Dr. Paul Lubitz discusses the Importance of Patient Surveys
May 30, 2014
Dr. Paul Lubitz Describes The Benefits Of Patient Surveys
A medical practice is like a living thing; it needs to be nurtured, loved, and – like other living things – taught to better itself. How does a medical practice better itself? By adapting to its patient’s needs and constantly striving to provide the best patient care possible. And how does a medical practice go about identifying whether or not it is doing these things? The answer is really very simple: by asking.
Dr. Paul Lubitz of Canmore, AB started what is now Bow Valley Dermatology in 2010. Having worked in a large dermatology practice for a number of years prior to this, Dr. Lubitz is familiar with the increasing volume – and resulting potential decline in quality of care – that typically results when a practice pushes or succumbs to patient quantity over quality.
Dr. Lubitz has endeavored to keep his current Bow Valley Dermatology practice relatively small by comparison in order to maintain his focus on providing consistently high levels of patient satisfaction as well as the best medical care and preventative education available. How does he know if the desired level of satisfaction has been achieved? Again, the answer is simple: by asking.
Dr. Paul Lubitz of Canmore, AB explains, “With this clinic, I have endeavored to regularly complete confidential patient and peer surveys to help ensure that Bow Valley Dermatology is accomplishing the high level of patient satisfaction I desire. By getting feedback from at least 25 patients and 3 peers every quarter, we gain valuable insight into the quality of care we are providing and that helps us to identify any areas of weakness that need to be addressed.”
Dr. Lubitz then uses this information to introduce these necessary changes into his practice; changes in clinic scheduling or the clinic physical structure, changes in how much time they spend with each patient, changes in policy…whatever furthers Dr. Lubitz’ vision to provide the best patient care possible.
Dr. Paul Lubitz of Canmore, AB highlights a few things he has learned from his survey results: “I found that the significantly increased time I now spend with my patients has provided me with the opportunity to develop more meaningful relationships with them. This, in turn, allows me to better understand the intricate needs of my patients on a deeper level and to tailor the care I can ultimately provide them.”
“From a more practical point of view, on the surveys we conducted in late 2012, a patient suggested that we add a curtain to the windowed-door of the surgical recovery room. Something so simple, that we as doctors didn’t consider it, and has met with outstandingly positive feedback from all our patients. It’s these relatively straightforward and sometimes in of themselves inconsequential changes that our patient surveys can reveal. Simple and sometimes overlooked, these changes when put in to practice can ultimately improve the overall quality of the patient experience. I’m sure there was a reason we didn’t put a curtain on that window when we first moved in, but if the patients deem in necessary or beneficial then we are certainly able to comply.”
Dr. Lubitz continues, “I have worked in a large clinic previously where the philosophy was akin to one-size-fits-all. Patients were asked or more likely expected to change to fit the needs of the practice. At Bow Valley Dermatology, we strive for the opposite: the practice makes the effort to change to fit the needs of the patient. It is able to do this because 1) the practice is purposely kept small and personal, and 2) it is constantly asking the simple yet powerful questions, “How are we doing and what can we do better?”
Asking questions of those you serve – be it through surveys or face-to-face, is a powerful tool for improvement. As Dr. Lubitz mentioned, it provides them with two important pieces of information: what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong. In most cases, it is likely the latter that is most important to any service-oriented business, and that includes a medical practice. At Bow Valley Dermatology, these patient/peer surveys can help shine the light on what’s not working in the practice and can help transform the wrongs into rights, and to change an average patient experience into a great experience.