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Survey gives first-ever statewide picture of the patient experience

WILLMAR — Minnesotans for the most part are satisfied with the patient experience at their medical clinic, but there's still room for improvement, according to a newly released statewide survey on patient satisfaction.

Results from more than 230,000 patient-completed surveys on patient experience of care, known as the Clinician and Group Surveys — Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, from 651 clinics are now available for consumers to use along with other information on the cost and quality of health care providers. The data are collected as part of Minnesota's Statewide Quality Reporting and Measurement System and is one of the most comprehensive looks in the U.S. at patient experience on a statewide basis.

The surveys queried patients about key aspects of the patient experience. Were they able to get a timely appointment? Did the doctor explain things in a way they understood? Was the office staff helpful and courteous?

Overall, 90 percent of the respondents gave top marks to the communication from their medical provider. Ninety-two percent gave similar high marks to the office staff.

They were less happy with their access to providers, the time it took to get an appointment and time spent in the waiting room. Sixty percent overall rated their medical clinic at or near the top in this category.

Not all clinics performed the same on these measures, however. At one medical practice, for example, only one in three survey respondents were satisfied with the access to their provider. At another clinic, eight out of 10 were satisfied.

Local medical groups fared above average on the majority of the measures. In most cases, better than 90 percent of the patients who were surveyed said they were satisfied with their interactions with the provider and the office staff. Satisfaction was lowest with wait times and access to the provider.

Health officials said the survey results give Minnesotans an overview of the experiences patients are having at medical clinics across the state.

"Sharing this information can help patients know what they should expect and help physician practices learn what they can do to improve the results," Jim Chase, president of Minnesota Community Measurement, said in a statement.

The data also may help shed light on the extent of the connection between the patient experience and quality outcomes.

Survey results can be found at

Anne Polta

Anne Polta covers health care, business/economic development and general assignment. Her HealthBeat blog can be found at Follow her on Twitter at @AnnePolta.

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