Everything You Need to Know About EMS Patient Experiences

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Patient experience surveys provide a window into your EMS agency operations. Here are a few ways to elevate your service and survey scores


Creating a positive patient experience is a cornerstone of the services EMS providers offer and a major contributor to their continued success. After all, most people don’t call emergency medical services more than once in their lifetime. And since it’s usually an emotional event, EMS providers can significantly impact the overall experience.


However, it can be a challenge for EMS providers to get actionable data that clarifies the patient experience. That’s where EMS Survey Team can help. We have created one of the first EMS patient experience measurement tools after spending the past decade working hard with some amazing EMS agency partners. We’re one of the largest and most robust providers of EMS patient experience surveys on the market, with more than 12.4 million unique data points in our system and more than 640,000 surveys.


But what is patient experience? EMS Survey Team defines the EMS patient experience as the culmination of all human encounters patients perceive during their interactions with emergency medical services. Our standardized survey includes 24 patient experience survey questions across five areas of the patient experience with EMS providers:


  • The Dispatch Composite
  • The Ambulance Composite
  • The Medic Composite
  • The Billing/Office Support Composite
  • The Overall Patient Experience Composite


We created this dynamic patient experience measurement tool to get the most comprehensive level of understanding of the EMS patient experience. The actionable insights gained through our survey can help your agency improve the patient experience in an objective and unbiased way.


How to Improve the Patient Experience


EMS Survey Team has found through our database of assessments that the top-performing providers offer a unique patient experience involving medics who listen, show care, and make patients comfortable.


Providing optimal care in the following areas can have a significant impact on your patient experience survey scores. Though these aren’t the only interactions to focus on to help improve the patient experience, they are great places to start developing your team’s patient experience skills:


  1. The Best Entrance

Before treating the patient, it’s important to build rapport and make meaningful connections. First and foremost, your providers should introduce themselves and ask everyone present to state their name and how they are connected to the patient. The providers should then emphasize that they are there to help make the stressful situation better.


Now that your providers know the names of the patient and any family members or friends present, they should use the names instead of terms of endearment like “sweetie,” “honey,” and “cutie.” This demonstrates that your medics value and respect everyone present and appreciate the opportunity to serve them during a stressful time.


  1. The Opportunity of Service

Serving others is one of the greatest opportunities we are granted in life. Serving patients in such personal ways — often in unique environments — requires special attention and skills from your medics. From our data, we have gleaned several service tips:

  • Before performing any service, such as administering medications or moving someone, understand that patients often feel like they lack control. Providing the opportunity for a patient to feel heard and seen during emergencies has a big impact on that patient’s perceptions of the quality of all interactions with EMS providers.
  • Communicating with patients about what they can expect to experience when medics perform procedures (e.g., inserting an IV) can create a moment of empathy and compassion. When medics explain what they’re doing, it also can help reduce a patient’s anxiety.


  1. The Moment of Delight

When providers go above and beyond by creating a moment of delight, they can make an indelible impression. Delighting the patient can happen in various ways — whether it’s by noticing a patient’s interest in reading, assuring them that their pet is safely in the house, comforting a family member, or any number of personal touches. That moment of delight will stand out to the patient as a comforting gesture during an otherwise uncomfortable situation. Making patients feel like they are your sole focus through honest communication and compassionate actions pave the way for exceptional patient experiences.


  1. The Caring Exit

Just as they began the interaction, your providers should end the experience on a high note. The most important things to do before transitioning care or leaving the scene are to ask, “Is there anything else I can do for you?” and “Do you have any questions?” Going the extra mile to show their care and support will leave a lasting impression that will be hard to forget when the patient completes an experience survey.


EMS Survey Team believes that gauging the patient experience through PX surveys is key to identifying existing strengths and growth opportunities for your EMS providers. Providing exceptional clinical skills with intentionally compassionate care can turn a potentially scary situation for a vulnerable patient into a positive and memorable moment.


For more information on how EMS Patient Experience surveys can help your organization, contact Robert Farrell, Director of Customer Experience.


Bobby J. Hopewell, the president and CEO of Mobile Health Resources, has 35 years of extensive healthcare, leadership, and public service experience. A Michigan native, he has a passion for serving and service delivery, especially related to ensuring a positive impact for those being served. Bobby has been in direct service to patients as an EMT and paramedic. He also has led multiple EMS agencies and was a leader with two tertiary health systems in Southwest Michigan. He served in elected office as the mayor of Kalamazoo, Michigan, from 2007–2019.

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