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Patient Experience Improvement 2021 Patient Experience Improvement 2021
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Patient Experience Improvement 2021
Increased Consumerism Driving Need for Customized, Real-Time Feedback

author - Adam Cherrington
Adam Cherrington
author - Dan Czech
Dan Czech
author - Ciera Walker
Ciera Walker
December 2, 2021 | Read Time: 12  minutes

Provider organizations’ efforts to improve the patient experience have typically relied on standardized, retrospective benchmarking data (predominantly from the CMS-regulated CAHPS survey). However, to really amplify the voice of the patient and meet the rising demands of healthcare consumerism, organizations also need customizable tools that allow them to respond to patient feedback in real time and quickly identify service-recovery options. This report examines the opportunity that exists for the industry to augment a CAHPS-centric approach with more customizable capabilities.

Patient Experience Improvement Technology

While vendors in the patient experience improvement market have traditionally offered either standardized benchmarking or more flexible, real-time surveying (as reflected in the graphic below), the lines are blurring as some vendors are beginning to offer both. Customer satisfaction with both types of vendors is generally high, but there are some key differences in the capabilities each group provides.

Given the need for both approaches, the future of the patient experience improvement market will likely go one of two ways: (1) provider and payer organizations will increasingly invest in multiple vendors to meet their needs, or (2) solution capabilities will expand, enabling organizations to utilize one solution for both benchmarking and individualized insights.

patient experience improvement approaches which approach are you using for patient experience improvement

Qualtrics, Feedtrail & Quality Reviews Enable Prompt Responses by Bringing Patient Needs Front and Center

ability to promptly respond to needs of specific patientsThe strength of newer market entrants such as Qualtrics, Feedtrail, and Quality Reviews lies in their ability to enable customers to respond quickly to individual patient feedback. Of the three, Qualtrics—who is noted for their cross-industry expertise—is the only one certified to administer CAHPS surveys. Customers consistently highlight the closed-loop nature of Qualtrics’ ticketing system, which alerts the appropriate staff when action is needed. Customers also note the vendor’s ability to offer strategic guidance, and they view the vendor as a partner who offers fair pricing and avoids unexpected charges. Some customers report that Qualtrics is spread thin and say the vendor sometimes sources out implementations to third-party partners, who are seen as less effective. Feedtrail customers get real-time notifications of low patient scores, enabling them—with the patient’s permission—to promptly reach out. Account managers are described as responsive and cognizant of customer needs. Citing Feedtrail’s newness as a factor, some customers report bumpy implementations and note that the product is not as robust as expected; however, they are confident in Feedtrail’s ability to eventually get them where they need to be. Customers of Quality Reviews also report strong service-recovery abilities, highlighting the transparency and quick availability of patient feedback. Customers praise the vendor’s responsiveness in addressing issues and also say patients find the solution easy to use. Some customers note difficulty getting the reporting to display data as desired or say it doesn’t meet all of their unique needs.

Customers Generally Satisfied with Industry Mainstays Press Ganey & NRC Health; Opportunities Exist for Better Usability, More Customization

Market share leaders Press Ganey and NRC Health provide the standardized benchmarking capabilities core to customers’ patient experience programs, and customers generally report high satisfaction with these capabilities. Customization opportunities with the vendors are more limited, and individual patient insights are harder to glean. Press Ganey customers highlight the vendor’s ability to provide guidance and expertise to help customers improve the patient experience. The vendor is viewed as a partner who works to understand their customers’ goals. Customers appreciate the solution’s dashboards, which enable them to slice and dice their data. Additionally, NarrativeDX (a tool acquired by Press Ganey in 2020) provides natural language processing capabilities that customers say are helpful for quickly understanding qualitative data and comments. Reported areas for improvement include more customizability and a faster turnaround time on being able to view the survey results. Additionally, some customers describe the reporting as cumbersome and unintuitive. However, customers mention excitement about a new platform, which they hope will be faster and more user friendly. NRC Health customers describe implementations and upgrades as seamless, and the solution’s natural language processing is viewed as helpful for understanding customer comments. Feedback regarding the usability of NRC Health’s data is mixed—some customers find it easy to access needed data, while others find it cumbersome or complicated to pull actionable insights. Other strengths include competitive pricing and the vendor’s responsiveness and effectiveness in solving reported problems; customers would like NRC Health to be more proactive in soliciting customer feedback and helping customers maximize the product’s value.

ability to customize vs ease of use

informationA Note about SPH Analytics, a Press Ganey Solution

Recently acquired by Press Ganey, SPH Analytics is unique in focusing on CAHPS and other experience surveys specifically for health plan members. Overall customer satisfaction is fairly high, with customers highlighting the vendor’s strong, data-driven guidance, which helps customers pinpoint strengths and weaknesses. The vendor’s account executives are described as attentive, invested in customer partnership, and quick to rectify issues. The most commonly reported outcome is better data for decision-making. However, customers feel the vendor’s technology lags behind the evolving market. Often when referring to CAHPS surveys, customers note that customization opportunities are quite limited due to the standardized nature of the surveys. Additionally, the data is reported on in aggregate, not at the member level, so customers have limited ability to respond to individual member concerns.

Data Is King—Led by Qualtrics, Feedtrail, and Quality Reviews, Top Outcomes Center around Faster, Better Decision-Making

Across vendors, the most commonly reported outcomes include improved visibility into the patient experience and greater clarity on where to focus improvement efforts. Customers of Qualtrics, Feedtrail, and Quality Reviews are the most likely to report these outcomes. Qualtrics customers often mention that the real-time insights they receive regarding specific patients allow leaders across the organization to quickly respond to those patients and drive improvements to organizational processes. Feedtrail customers appreciate the ability to tie patient data to specific providers, allowing for both direct service recovery as well as continued physician improvement at both the caregiver and broader departmental level. Quality Reviews customers point to the daily reports they receive, which provide an at-a-glance look at the patient experience and specific opportunities for improvement. The tool also generates provider score trends, which drive clinician engagement through consistent feedback and peer-to-peer benchmarking.

most significant outcomes achieved

Vendors At a Glance

vendors at a glance

Insights on Vendors Not Yet Measured

insights on vendors not yet measured

Formerly Vision Critical. Most common validated use case outside of patient/member experience is understanding market opinions/insights; multiple respondents use Alida for opt-in patient and family advisory council feedback beyond pure patient satisfaction measurements.

Customers report using Medallia to measure a variety of experience types, usually post-visit (either immediately after the visit or in the days and weeks following).

Wambi (primarily employee recognition)
Focuses on clinician/employee recognition. Respondents use Wambi most often for patient surveys during episodes of care. Most customers KLAS spoke to are midsized health systems.

Voice of the Customer

Vendors ordered alphabetically


positive customer quote“When we started getting enough volume in our feedback to really see which locations were performing well according to our patients, not according to our own assessment, it was eye opening. It allowed us to start asking questions about what we can do around check-in to make a difference. We were able to go to our other sites to ask what they do differently that allows them to check people in faster at their site than where we get the bulk of our patient load. That was helpful too. We got feedback that allowed us to address bad behavior really quickly. . . . We can quickly give real-time feedback in a way that hopefully curbs behaviors, especially for new employees that are getting oriented.” —Director of quality

negative customer quote“For Feedtrail, there were some things that we were a little bit surprised by in terms of the setup or the maturity level of some of the portal information that was visible to us once we actually started seeing our own data. But we went into the experience with that mind-set of signing ourselves up with an organization that is pretty early in their tenure. So it wasn’t surprising to us that there were things that were unknown to us and the vendor. There were definitely some things that caught them by surprise that their portal couldn’t do.” —VP of administration

NRC Health

positive customer quote“The vendor made the implementation really easy. Their implementation team was great to work with. The team was really flexible, and they communicated well. The process was well defined, and we didn’t have any surprises along the way. The vendor told us how long things would take, and they connected us with other customers to talk about their experiences with implementation.” —VP of patient experience

negative customer quote“NRC Health offers some other functionalities that could be important for me, but I don’t have time to look into all of those things because of how much I have on my plate. It would go a long way if the vendor had proactive 15-minute conversations with me to review different pieces of functionality. They could also be more impactful by making sure that all of their customers are able to benefit from their solutions.” —Director of performance

Press Ganey

positive customer quote“The one benefit that Press Ganey has over other organizations is their thought leadership. They bring experts to the table at the executive level, and those people can be really helpful. When we need to get buy-in on priorities or things like that, the vendor has a wealth of resources that we can tap into.” —Director of patient experience

negative customer quote“We can customize and target questions in Patient Voice, but it takes a bit of work. Press Ganey tries to push clients to include more standard questions and fewer custom questions because that allows for better benchmarking. Press Ganey has to do the questions on their end. Making it easier to set up single sign-on for internal users would also be helpful. We use Patient Voice for several different areas. We would use the system for a certain specialty, but Press Ganey doesn’t have a great survey in place for that specialty yet.” —VP of quality

Quality Reviews

positive customer quote“We saw a significant improvement in customer scores for the patients who responded within a certain amount of time. We continue to track scores, and responders are still rating us higher. If the patient has a concern while we still have them in our care, we can correct the concern and demonstrate that we are serious about caring about their stay and experience. The solution has prompted nurses and the communication staff to work together in response to concerns. We can also acknowledge and be grateful for positive comments and forward them to our staff members. We have the information from the solution weaved into our employee satisfaction initiatives.” —IT director

negative customer quote“Some of the provider-level data in Q-Reviews is hard to aggregate. We have to really know how to filter things and make them simpler. The solution’s data isn’t as easy to grab as we would like. That is one thing that I would like the vendor to improve.” —Director, ambulatory practice administration


positive customer quote“We appreciate that Qualtrics is in not only the healthcare space but also the consumer space. That was something we were very interested in and excited about. Healthcare consumers are starting to look more like the commercial consumers of the world, so we can take some of the learnings and best practices that come from those commercial folks and apply them to healthcare. Healthcare has been antiquated in their approach to feedback and just general outreach, so it is really nice to adopt some of the industry best practices.” —IT manager

negative customer quote“Qualtrics’ biggest opportunity would be having more consistent and deeper dialogue with their clients and customers. I think that is because of their recent growth. They haven’t had the resources or the training necessary to support the needs of their clients. A lot of our challenges could have been easily resolved if we had had more senior-level connections earlier on in the implementation process.” —VP

SPH Analytics (primarily member experience)

positive customer quote“SPH Analytics is great in giving us an overall picture of where we are and how we are doing. They are also brilliant in the way that they point out our strong points and our weak areas. SPH Analytics lists everything, and that has been very helpful. The results are priceless to us. SPH Analytics gives me a clear understanding of the areas I need to improve.” —Quality program manager

negative customer quote“SPH Analytics . . . [is] not strong on the analytics piece. . . . As this space has gotten more competitive across all health plans in terms of differentiating and trying to perform better, the analytics are what is going to differentiate them. If I know who I need to target with my communication, that is going to go a long way toward improving the experience for my population. I don’t feel like SPH Analytics has evolved past where they were 5 or 10 years ago, and they have not gotten into the analog space. They claim to have, and they show us some tools, but they are very surface-level tools.” —VP, administration

About This Report

The data in this report comes from two sources: (1) KLAS’ standard quantitative evaluation for healthcare software, and (2) a supplemental evaluation tailored specifically for the patient experience improvement market. Interviews were conducted over the last 12 months.

KLAS’ standard quantitative evaluation is composed of 16 numeric ratings questions and 4 yes/no questions, all weighted equally. Combined, the ratings for these questions make up the overall performance score, which is measured on a 100-point scale. The questions are organized into six customer experience pillars—culture, loyalty, operations, product, relationship, and value.

customer experience pillars software

To supplement the customer satisfaction data gathered with the standard evaluation, KLAS also created a supplemental evaluation to delve deeper into several questions specific to the patient experience improvement market. Respondents to this evaluation were asked (1) various questions regarding how they use their solution (e.g., which care settings it is used in, the types of experiences it measures, etc.); (2) what outcomes they have achieved with the solution; (3) how actionable the information from the tool is; (4) their ability to customize questions; and (5) their ability to respond to the needs of individual patients, members, or employees.

about this report

Sample Sizes

Unless otherwise noted, sample sizes displayed throughout this report (e.g., n=16) represent the total number of unique customer organizations interviewed for a given vendor or solution. However, it should be noted that to allow for the representation of differing perspectives within any one customer organization, samples may include surveys from different individuals at the same organization. Ratings from these individuals are aggregated in order to prevent any one organization’s feedback from disproportionately impacting a solution’s score. The table below shows the total number of unique organizations interviewed for each vendor or solution as well as the total number of individual respondents.

Some respondents choose not to answer particular questions, meaning the sample size for any given vendor or solution can change from question to question. When the number of unique organization responses for a particular question is less than 15, the score for that question is marked with an asterisk (*) or otherwise designated as “limited data.” If the sample size is less than 6, no score is shown. Note that when a vendor has a low number of reporting sites, the possibility exists for KLAS scores to change significantly as new surveys are collected.

author - Elizabeth Pew
Elizabeth Pew
author - Natalie Jamison
Natalie Jamison
author - Natalie Jamison
Project Manager
Natalie Jamison
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This material is copyrighted. Any organization gaining unauthorized access to this report will be liable to compensate KLAS for the full retail price. Please see the KLAS DATA USE POLICY for information regarding use of this report. © 2024 KLAS Research, LLC. All Rights Reserved. NOTE: Performance scores may change significantly when including newly interviewed provider organizations, especially when added to a smaller sample size like in emerging markets with a small number of live clients. The findings presented are not meant to be conclusive data for an entire client base.