“Secret Patients” provide feedback

Ottawa Family Physicians in Ottawa, Kansas have found an effective tool to get patient feedback.  “It’s just very simple,” said Betty Franklin, administrative assistant. 

Franklin explained that two or three weeks ahead of time, they look through the patient schedule and randomly pick three or four patients.  A staff member calls them and asks if they would be willing to be a “secret patient.”  If they agree, a Patient Satisfaction Survey is mailed to them, along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

After their appointment, the “secret patients” fill out the survey and mail it back.

“We get feedback on how their visit went.  They might name specific employees or tell us about anything from the front office to ancillary services.  The feedback is usually positive. Any complaints are usually about the wait time,” Franklin said. “We go over the surveys in staff meeting.  If an employee who stands out is identified, we give them kudos.”
As a thank you for their participation, “secret patients” receive a gift card to Walmart or a local merchant. 

Ottawa Family Physicians comprises seven physicians and three nurse practitioners. They have been using this simple tool for four or five years and plan to keep it going as an easy way to gain valuable feedback from their patients.

by Toni Dixon
(posted March 2017)