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A Toolbook for Quality Improvement and Problem Solving (contents)

Surveys: Examples

The Quality Toolbook > Surveys > Examples

When to use it | How to understand it | Example | How to use it | Practical variations


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The doctors' committee in a medical practice wanted to improve their rapport with patients. They considered asking them directly, but concluded that many patients would be too shy to criticize to their face someone they viewed as an authority figure. Consequently, they decided to use an anonymous questionnaire, which patients would be asked to complete when their treatment was finished.

They identified the main focus areas as patient-doctor interaction during both diagnosis and treatment, and designed the questionnaire accordingly. The questionnaire was then piloted with a sample of patients, reviewed and revised. One of the changes was to keep the average completion time down to two minutes. A part of the final questionnaire is shown in Fig. .

The scheme was then introduced for the planned two-month period, with all patients asked to complete the questionnaire after each treatment. A quiet part of the waiting room was set aside for the purpose, with a table, pencils and post-box for the completed questionnaires.

An early effect of the survey was the definition of an interactive diagnosis process, including specific discussions with the patients about their feelings towards the illness. A surprise result of the improvements was an increase in the success rate of treatments.



Fig. 1. Example Survey


Other examples

  • A restaurant manager surveys staff and customers, aiming to improve customer satisfaction. He find a strong correlation between satisfied customers and happy staff, and so initiates a motivation scheme which results in a happier restaurant, and increased business.
  • Members of a press team in a shoe manufacturer are uncertain about the effectiveness of an idea they have for a new steam press. They conduct tandem interviews with machine suppliers and with specialists within their own company, to determine the technical feasibility of implementing the idea. As a result, they abandon an idea which otherwise could have taken much effort in developing for no eventual results.
  • After suggestions by a local newspaper that parents are dissatisfied with a school, the headmaster organizes a telephone survey of a random sample of 100 parents. He finds that there is no strong dissatisfaction with the academic standard, but there is a significant feeling that there is insufficient communication between the staff and parents. He gets this result published in the following week's paper and organizes a parent-teacher team to improve communication.



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