Have you ever thought about how the public perceives the emergency medical services? Do you ever question how you’re doing when you’re administering care to a patient? Patient surveys are extremely common in the healthcare field in today’s society. Though they are most common in hospitals and doctor’s offices, but they can be helpful for EMS as well.
While surveys may not be as common place in EMS, they are extremely beneficial in assisting to determine problems with an agency, as well as to assist in recognizing good work that crews are performing. Not only are surveys given to the patients, they can also be utilized with the hospitals and doctor’s offices that patients are transported to. Surveys are a wonderful tool if used correctly, and can assist in making a department great.
The emergency medical services are still in their infancy, and the use of surveys can be a wonderful avenue to assist with the progress of not only a particular agency, but for EMS as a field. Many people want to make comments and suggestions, but they don’t want to be singled out. Through the use of surveys, patients can remain anonymous, and data can be collected on a large scale.
When we think about surveys, we tend to think about the patients, but they aren’t the only ones that utilize EMS, many doctors’ offices, nursing homes and hospitals do as well. As such they should also be included in your survey. In addition, you should always include an internal survey for your crews to participate in. These internal surveys can give you a good idea of how well equipped and supported your crews are to provide for the needs of your patients.
While there are multiple ways to distribute surveys, web-based versions tend to be best because they are cost effective and easy to create, distribute and collect.
Once a survey has been implemented and the feedback, or data, has been collected, you can begin to interpret the results.
This portion of the process will require thicker skin and the ability to review the results as a whole. As an aspect of healthcare, EMS agencies can always expect their fair share of unhappy people. The EMS provider is always expected to be quick and efficient, but when you’re the patient, or the patient’s family, it is never quick enough. Patients don’t often truly understand EMS and how it works, and this must be considered when interpreting your results. While negative comments should never be ignored, learn to sort through any negative feedback and determine if it’s an area where you can use improvement, or if it’s an aspect of the job you cannot control.
If an aspect of the job is found to be in need of improvement, actions can be put in place to address the needs. If crew members are highly praised in a survey, you can recognize their accomplishments. If used properly, surveys can be a great way to proactively improve problems and increase workplace moral through recognition.
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Curka PA, Pepe PE, Zachariah BS, Gray GD, Matsumoto C. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. June 1995. 9 April 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7497051
JR, Orlando J Dominuez. EMS Supervisor Principals and Practice. Burlington: Jones and Bartlett Learning, 2016.