Significance of customer feedback : an analysis of customer feedback data in a university hospital laboratory
Oja, Paula (2010-09-21)
The aim of the study was to evaluate the usefulness of customer satisfaction surveys and spontaneous customer feedback procedure in a university hospital laboratory. Questionnaires containing closed-ended statements and an open-ended question were used in the customer satisfaction surveys targeted at the clinical units of the university hospital and regional health centres. Customer feedback documents including the subject matters of the reports, the investigations carried out and the actions taken were analysed using qualitative content analysis. The highest dissatisfaction rates in the clinical units were recorded for computerised test requesting and reporting, turnaround times of tests, missing test results and the schedule of phlebotomy rounds. In addition, additional instructions were needed. The most common causes of dissatisfaction among regional health centres were related to electronic data transfer of laboratory test requests and reports between health centres and the university hospital laboratory, need of additional instructions for handling of samples and preparation patients for laboratory tests, problems with decentralised phlebotomy services to hospital outpatients, and unawareness of the schedule of some less common laboratory tests. Further clarifications with selected customers were needed to specify the causes of dissatisfaction. Erroneous, delayed and lacking test results were the most common errors or defects revealed in the investigations of the spontaneous customer feedback reports from both the clinical units and the external customers. The most common underlying causes of errors were unintended errors and non-compliance with operating instructions. Systematic errors were found in one-sixth of the cases. Corrective actions were carried out in three-fourths of the cases. Satisfaction survey can be used as a screening tool to identify topics of dissatisfaction. However, further clarifications are often needed to find out the customer-specific causes of dissatisfaction and to undertake targeted corrective actions. Every reported case of customer feedback should be investigated to find out possible errors and their underlying causes so that appropriate corrective actions can be taken.
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