WHO TO SURVEY

Make it clear that the decision to take a survey or express criticisms will not affect participants’ ability to get care or retain their employment (if this can be guaranteed).

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It is important that participants feel free to decline participation.

  • Would you feel like you could decline if your doctor asked you to take a survey? What about your boss?

  • How might you answer a survey differently about your work environment if your boss is collecting and processing the data?


If you want to gain the most accurate insights from the survey results, it is vital to understand the perspectives of many different groups stakeholders. For example:

  • The perspective of those with private insurance, Medicaid, and those without insurance likely differ.

  • Those who speak English may have a different experience in your hospital from those who need an interpreter to communicate.

  • Patients of color may have different experiences than White patients.

  • Female patients likely use different services at your hospital than male patients, and their attitudes about providers and staff may differ.

Getting a diverse sample of participants provides unique challenges. It’s not just who’s taking the survey, but also who’s administering it.

  • Considering power dynamics is very important when designing processes to collect data and implement and monitor improvement work. What are the power dynamics between who is administering the survey and who is responding to it?

  • For examples, will staff fear that their responses might be identifiable to clinic leadership?

  • Will patients feel comfortable answering questions if surveys are administered by their providers?

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A Note About Language:

  • Think carefully about how including/excluding certain language groups might impact your results.

  • It can be costly to conduct surveys in more than one language. Depending on the clientele at your institution, you will have to balance the tradeoffs.

  • If there is a language beside English that is particularly prevalent at your clinic, consider have an interpreter available to read the questions aloud to patients