Why the Friends and Family Test could be brilliant for your practice

Friends and Family TestHelen Dargie explains why the Friends and Family Test could be hugely beneficial to your practice.

There are circa 8,000 dental practices in England and all of them have to start collecting Friends and Family Test feedback from patients on 1 April 2015. At the moment the majority of you are probably thinking of the easiest ways to meet the requirement with limited impact on you or your time.

This is completely understandable due to the limited information available about why you should do the Friends and Family Test rather than how. The benefits for your practice are vast, not least seeing an improvement in loyalty and retention for your practice.

Gaining feedback

The Friends and Family Test gives your patients a way of telling you about their experience, quickly and easily without the dreaded 20 question interrogation or ‘this will only take 10 minutes’ threat. Why is this great? Because with a 20 second survey you will capture feedback from patients who wouldn’t normally take time to do surveys, and, those patients will often have the most interesting insights into your service.

So, what does a good Friends and Family Test look like? Provide a mix of options to give your patients a choice in how they give their feedback. In our experience of Friends and Family Test, the most effective way is to collect feedback on site, with the survey visible as patients leave your practice, using a tablet. While this method requires some education, it could easily become a core source of feedback and dramatically reduce your admin and paper costs related to Friends and Family Test and surveys in general.

The important point

The most obvious point of feedback is quite often missed in the rush to submit ‘scores’ and trying to add up all the answers up to get accurate results. The key point of feedback is reviewing and acting on it. Even if you can’t fix issues, letting patients know you have seen the feedback and explaining why what they want isn’t possible, will increase loyalty and belief in your practice.

Let’s not forget about the huge amount of positive feedback that you will get! It’s not going to be all bad, far from it in our experience. In fact in A&E, where you might expect to see high levels of dissatisfaction, we saw largely positive feedback with an average of 86% of patients saying they would recommend the service. Being able to recognise and celebrate your successes is a core benefit of Friends and Family Test.

Finally, giving patients flexible ways to give their feedback will increase their willingness to get involved and reduce, or at least balance, the extreme feedback that you may see on NHS Choices, Facebook, Twitter and the myriad of channels that are available to patients these days.

Take control of your feedback and see the benefits from day one.

Friends and Family Test – the facts

  1. You must be offering all patients the opportunity to give feedback from 1 April 2015
  2. Your first results submission (for April) will be the 12th working day of May
  3. You only submit response volumes, not scores
  4. You do not submit comments, they are for your use alone
  5. This will become part of your contract as an NHS service provider.

To find out more information on the Friends and Family Test by We Love Surveys, click here.

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