News release: Survey: Patients pleased with medical providers, but want easier access

News Release
August 26, 2015

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Survey: Patients pleased with medical providers, but want easier access

Aug. 26, 2015 – Nearly 80 percent of Minnesota’s patients give their health care providers a top rating of 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale, but only about 60 percent of patients said they experienced a top level of access to care.

The results of the 2015 Patient Experience of Care Survey (obsolete link removed) were released today by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and MN Community Measurement (MNCM). This is the second time that Minnesota has conducted the nation’s largest statewide patient experience survey. The survey included 200,500 patients at 765 clinics in Minnesota and neighboring communities who had appointments between September 1 and November 30, 2014. This year’s survey indicates that patient opinion hasn’t changed much since the first survey in 2013.

“The survey indicates that patients are generally pleased with the care they receive but would like more convenience and timely access,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger. “Positive patient experience is a key element of high-quality medical care, and these survey findings will help inform continued efforts to ensure that patients have the access to care and the communication with providers they need to be healthy.”

For example, Scenic Rivers Health Services – Cook Medical Clinic in Northern Minnesota significantly boosted its survey results after adding three clinicians and an online patient portal at the end of 2013.  “We try to have everything updated in the patient’s file before the visit, so the time in the exam room is very dedicated as direct medical services between the provider and patient,” said Nancy Mault, EMR & Clinic Services director.

The survey measures patient experience in terms of whether patients were:

  • Getting care when needed.
  • Being listened to and receiving understandable information and instructions.
  • Experiencing courteous and helpful office staff.
  • Satisfied with their provider.

“Sharing this information helps patients understand what they should expect when they go to the doctor’s office, and helps physicians understand the elements to providing an outstanding experience for their patients,” said Jim Chase, president of MN Community Measurement.

For example, Park Nicollet Clinic – Maple Grove Women’s Services earned high marks on all four survey domains by taking a team approach. “Every touch point has to be a positive experience, even if it’s not a positive reason the patient is here,” said Tawny Zbanski, clinic manager. “Everyone on the team recognizes they play an important role in that patient’s experience.”

Though patients are generally having a good experience, the survey did find significant differences between clinics. Here are some highlights from the survey:

  • 79 percent of respondents gave their provider a top rating of 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale – a statistically significant one point increase over the 2013 result. Individual clinic ratings ranged from 49 to 97 percent of providers receiving a top rating.
  • 83 percent of respondents described communication from their providers as top-level. Across individual clinics, the low score was 54 percent and the high score was 94 percent.
  • 81 percent of respondents gave the office staff at their clinics top marks for being respectful and helpful. However, a 40 percentage point difference can be seen between the highest and lowest scoring clinics.
  • Nineteen percent, or 121, more clinics participated in the survey than two years ago.
  • Clinics participating in the state’s Health Care Homes initiative included additional questions in the patient experience of care survey.  For over half of all certified Health Care Homes, at least 60 percent of their patients reported a positive score in relation to shared decision making, and at least 50 percent of their patients reported a positive score in relation to attention to mental health.

Results are based on 200,500 patient-completed surveys on patient experience of care – known as the Clinician and Group Surveys – Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CG-CAHPS®). Thirty-three percent of the patients surveyed responded, which is a similar response rate as 2013. Minnesota conducts the nation’s largest statewide patient experience survey.

For more information, see 2015 Patient Experience of Care Survey Results Overview (PDF) (obsolete link removed).

The data are collected as part of Minnesota’s Statewide Quality Reporting and Measurement System. MDH partners with MNCM to collect the data, and MNCM reports results on Individual clinics are also given access to more detailed analysis on their survey results to see where they are performing well, and identify areas for improvement. A small number of clinics in border communities in Iowa, North Dakota and Wisconsin that see Minnesota patients also chose to voluntarily submit results to MNCM.

About Us
The goals of the MDH Statewide Quality Reporting and Measurement System are to enhance market transparency by creating a uniform approach to quality measurement, improve health outcomes, and reduce acute care spending. More information can be found at Health Care Quality Measures.

MN Community Measurement is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving health by publicly reporting health care information. A trusted source of health care data and public reporting on quality, cost and patient experience since 2003, MNCM works with medical groups, health plans, employers, consumers and state agencies to spur quality improvement, reduce health care costs and maximize value. Learn more at Minnesota Community Measurement.


Media inquiries:

Scott Smith, MDH Communications, 651-201-5806

Erin Ghere, MNCM Communications, 612-454-4827