Anesthesia Patient Satisfaction Surveys

wooden peg with different face emotions, patient satisfaction survey concept

Anesthesia Patient Satisfaction Surveys

and Why the Time is Now

By: Hal Nelson, CANPC
MSN Vice President, Anesthesiology Services

In a time of patient-centric care, it’s surprising how few practices conduct surveys to assess the quality of anesthesia services provided. Perhaps one of the factors is money. Many survey vendors charge high fees, which can be cost prohibitive for mid to large-sized groups.

Another reason might be the misconception that it’s someone else’s responsibility, like the hospital’s or ASC’s. Whatever the argument, it’s flawed logic. There is no more powerful testimonial to a group’s customer service than data from patient surveys.

This article is intended to expound on the topic and illustrate why groups that use surveys have a competitive edge in the marketplace.

Hospital Stipends

First, let’s look at hospital stipends. Patient satisfaction surveys can play a major role in the negotiation process, as administrators respect data.

Having tangible proof that your group provides great customer service to patients is a bargaining chip at the negotiation table. By association, it also conveys that your practice provides exceptional service to your internal customers, that being the hospital staff and surgeons.

Lastly, it shows that your organization is willing to continuously reassess and adapt, by using honest feedback and taking remedial action. Although it’s difficult to quantify cost savings in terms of surveys, few hospital administrators would argue that aggregated patient assessment data is compelling and speaks to a culture of organizational accountability and responsiveness.

Stand Out Among Competitors 

Second, consider the sites that you currently work at and the ones which you hope to contract with in the future. Patient survey data can be a differentiating factor when it comes to you and your competitors. It not only helps you retain existing contracts, but also gives you an edge during the RFP process with prospective sites. The bottom line – groups that have patient satisfaction surveys in place let their patients speak to their quality, as opposed to attesting themselves. The former is far more compelling and objective.

MIPS: Medicare Penalties are Back

Third, think about the CMS Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). Although groups got a free pass in 2020 due to Covid-19, the 9% potential penalty on your Medicare revenue is back in 2021. Groups who want to avoid this penalty and instead work towards an incentive need viable MIPS measure options that aren’t already topped out or devalued to report. There are currently two such measures in anesthesia, AQI48 (Patient-Reported Experience with Anesthesia) and ePreop30 (Ultrasound Guidance for Peripheral Nerve Block with Patient Experience). Having a survey mechanism in place not only provides you access to these existing measures, but it also paves the way for new measure development for your organization. Perhaps you’ve discovered a best practice that you want to validate and showcase for your specialty. Surveys provide patient test group data to corroborate your theory, at least as it pertains to patient satisfaction.

Patient Satisfaction Surveys: The Time is Now

In the end, groups that use surveys have a barometer of patient satisfaction that their peers do not. When you add in stipend negotiation, business retention/expansion, and MIPS as reasons to consider, it makes the argument for patient surveys far more intriguing. It’s certainly food for thought.

Hal Nelson, Vice President Anesthesiology Services


Hal Nelson, CANPC
has 30 years experience on both the payer and RCM side, with a focus in Anesthesia. He formerly worked as a senior claims approver at United Healthcare, as well as a compliance officer for multiple national billing companies. He has also taught the CPC coding curriculum collegiately in Atlanta. His broad based experience ensures that MSN clients will have a resource for documentation and billing issues. His past speaking engagements include ASA, MGMA, Dartmouth, and Johns Hopkins.