A Clear Perspective on Patient Satisfaction

Clear Perspective

HDC's Affiliated Offices Utilize Press Ganey to Identify What Patients Want

Health care, whether dentistry or another specific field, revolves around patients. Every minute doctors or dentists spend in the office is dedicated to keeping patients as healthy as possible. But beyond maintaining the health of their patients, they strive to maintain the satisfaction of their patients.

Press Ganey Dental Survey

Having satisfied patients creates a chain reaction of positive events. Positive patient experiences mean more engaged dentists and team members, which results in a more efficient work environment. Happy patients repeat and refer. They continue coming in and share their experience with friends and family, which allows doctors and team members to help even more people stay healthy.

However, knowing how to satisfy patients isn’t always clear. HDC-affiliated dentists and team members work to enhance the patient experience by improving their communication and listening techniques, building trusting relationships and customizing care to each patient’s specific needs. But even as they work to master these areas, how do they know if their work is paying off? How do they know what areas they need to work on?

In order for dentists to know how to keep patients satisfied, a system to monitor their satisfaction and dissatisfaction has to be in place. This gives dentists and team members foresight into what their patients are saying, what their expectations are and what areas could be improved. To make this a reality, HDC affiliates work with Press Ganey, the recognized leader in health care performance improvement.

What is Press Ganey?

Founded in 1985 by Irwin Press, PhD, and Rod Ganey, PhD, Press Ganey is the industry leader in patient experience improvement, partnering with more than 10,000 health care organizations nationwide, including half of all U.S. hospitals. Based in South Bend, Indiana, the company supports health care providers in understanding and improving patient experiences.

"The data received from Press Ganey has given me and my team a great advantage in sharpening our communication, attitude and overall patient care."

Walt Leonard Walt Leonard, DMD
practicing dentist at Eastside General Dentistry in Spartanburg, South Carolina

Press Ganey works with hospitals, medical offices, dental offices and home care providers to help them create productive work environments and strengthen their clinical and operational processes. Rising costs and turnover are only a few of the many obstacles that can lead to patient defection and negative word-of-mouth advertising; Press Ganey recognizes the critical role patient satisfaction plays in determining a health care provider's success. They emphasize building strong relationships with clients, providing outstanding customer service and constantly looking for new, innovative ways to solve client challenges.

One aspect that sets Press Ganey apart from other performance monitoring companies is their high-performance client success model. By collecting key metrics and organizing them in to a single integrated view, Press Ganey gives healthcare providers the information they need to make informed decisions and necessary changes with confidence. In their model for dental offices, three areas are emphasized in creating and measuring optimal patient satisfaction:

  1. Building relationships
    (patients, doctors, employees)
  2. Strategic insights
    (strategic planning, community image, strategic consulting)
  3. Operations excellence
    (operations consulting, benchmarking, patient flow)

Identifying the Unknown

The measurement tools and methods used by Press Ganey are in a league of their own. In dentistry, 85 percent of patients say they "like" their dentist, but that information alone isn't useful to offices. For dentists to enhance their care and keep patients coming back, they need to know the unknown factors patients are looking for. Press Ganey's surveys delve deeper into this, discovering specific patient feedback: Are dentists communicating clearly enough? Are they spending enough time with patients? Would patients recommend their dentist to others?

For dental offices, each Press Ganey survey includes 32 questions that cover various parts of a dental visit, including dentist-patient interaction, the dental team, personnel issues, payment issues, the facility and the appointment itself, as well as an overall assessment. But specific questions aren't duplicated among all dental office clients; Press Ganey works closely with each provider to determine their individual needs. Then a customized survey is created to provide the best comparative data. The surveys feature both rating scale questions to provide accurate statistics, and written comments that provide detailed accounts of patient visits.

The survey questions are written at an average reading level and worded so that each patient is asked to provide a numeric score from 1 (very poor) to 5 (very good). This scale is used to rate numerous aspects of a dental visit, including doctor availability, convenience of office hours, confidence in staff and demonstrated teamwork. Once the surveys are completed and returned, Press Ganey scans the surveys and posts images, data and comments for evaluation. Then the data is made available to clients for reporting.

The report contains an assortment of beneficial results. To ensure the data received is an accurate representation of the actual population, demographic profiles of respondents are included. These profiles break down demographics such as patient age and sex into percentages. The report also features a detailed analysis of all questions to monitor significant changes and determine what's really important to patients.

A huge advantage of the Press Ganey process is the ability for clients to benchmark their results against other offices and providers. In the client reports, comparative data from other participating dental offices is provided in addition to the client's results. So when reviewing a question, dentists can compare their scores against fellow dentists and offices in their peer group.

It's this benchmarking ability and attention to creating highly organized, detailed surveys that sets Press Ganey apart. Dentists take great pride and ownership in the scores they receive and, ultimately, in the satisfaction of their patients. With the valuable information learned from Press Ganey surveys, they can truly improve every aspect of their patient care.

The Clear Choice for HDC

To support affiliated dentists in providing optimal care, Heartland Dental Care strives to supply them with the necessary tools to accomplish this task. Building and maintaining patient satisfaction is a significant ingredient in first-rate care, and HDC affiliated dentists have found Press Ganey to be the strategic business partner they need to review and monitor patient expectations.

Press Ganey is the pinnacle of reporting patient satisfaction. For HDC-affiliated dentists, it's not enough to know if patients are happy or unhappy. They want to know why. By offering frequent access to accurate, methodical data, Press Ganey provides this insight.


This data covers all facets of a dental appointment—from the minute patients walk in the office, to the waiting period, to the prep time and the procedure. Patients are surveyed in all of these areas for their feedback, rating time between calling for an appointment and being seen, in-office wait time, cleanliness of facility, explanation of treatment, dentist and hygienist professionalism and more. This information provides an all-around review of the office.

"The data received from Press Ganey has given me and my team a great advantage in sharpening our communication, attitude and overall patient care," explained Dr. Walt Leonard, practicing dentist at Eastside General Dentistry in Spartanburg, South Carolina. "The high level of detail within the survey questions and patient comments is very helpful. If we only receive numerical scores, even if they're a 4 or 5, that doesn't necessarily mean those patients will come back to our office or refer others. But with the particulars we receive, we can take action to ensure patients want to come back and tell their friends."

Press Ganey also provides groundbreaking benchmarking capabilities. In understanding where HDC affiliates stand with patient satisfaction, numbers alone aren't enough to form an action plan. But with data on HDC affiliates and comparable offices, affiliated dentists and team members have a broader method for identifying specific areas for improvement.

"For health professionals, benchmarking themselves against their peers is an effective way to measure their level of patient satisfaction," said Joe Greskoviak, President of Press Ganey. "With the dental industry constantly evolving, it's critical that dentists capture their patients' perspectives and integrate that feedback into their improvement strategies."

To say it again, health care revolves around patients, especially at HDC-affiliated offices. Having a clear vision of patient satisfaction is essential. Press Ganey's well-structured system continues to set these affiliated offices up for success, providing the ideal way to define, assess and improve the quality of the patient experience.

As a dentist or health care provider, doing what's best for your patients is the foundation of your profession. So why not utilize the best method for understanding the patient perspective?