How is the survey conducted?

PRC’s professional physician interviewers schedule and conduct personal telephone interviews with each physician at his or her convenience. PRC utilizes a telephone methodology to ensure the data represents the opinions of the actual doctors (and not members of the office staff, medical students, family members, etc.).

Conducting this study with a telephone methodology communicates to physicians that their perceptions, loyalty, and experiences are important. By contracting with PRC to call physicians on your behalf, your hospital is more likely to reach the busiest physicians and heaviest admitters. PRC’s telephone methodology regularly achieves response rates between 80% and 90%.

What hours are PRC’s interviewers available to complete an interview?

PRC’s interviewers conduct surveys at the convenience of each physician. Between 7 am and 5 pm (Central Time), the interviewers call physicians’ offices to conduct interviews and schedule appointments. Appointments, however, are accommodated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

How long is the physician interview?

The length of one physician interview depends on the responses of the individual physician being interviewed, as well as the length of the survey. PRC recommends keeping the survey under 90 questions; anything more than that can negatively affect the response rate. The average survey takes 10 to 12 minutes to complete.

What does the survey measure?

The PRC Physician Engagement Survey measures how your physicians perceive your hospital and its services, and through mathematical analysis, indicates what is driving those perceptions. The results offer insight into perceived clinical and operational strengths and weaknesses, segmented by specific departments and services.

There are two global questions in the physician engagement survey: 1) “Overall, how would you rate the Quality of Care at (Hospital Name)?” and 2) “Overall, how would you rate (Hospital Name) as a Place to Practice Medicine?” These two measures are separate questions asked towards the end of the survey (they are not roll-ups of other measures).

The survey is organized by service area module. Each service area module (e.g., patient safety, administration, medical records, nursing, etc.) has an overall question along with more specific questions. For example, the Administration module contains an overall question, along with specific questions that address the timeliness of communication, responsiveness to physicians’ concerns and complaints, encouragement of input in operational decisions, and willingness to involve physicians in strategic decisions. The over-arching issues, such as Administration and Patient Safety are placed near the end of the survey along with PRC’s two global questions: Quality of Care and Place to Practice Medicine. Service area modules of the PRC Physician Engagement Study focus on the external work environment, and thus lend themselves to be more easily affected by action plans and management efforts. The Physician Engagement Index, though, focuses on internal factors and can help organizations understand more clearly how their physicians feel.

The Physician Engagement Index provides additional insight about physicians’ underlying motives by segmenting the survey responses by level of engagement. Engagement is a psychological concept comprised of physicians’ beliefs about their intellectual and emotional commitment to the organization.

Physicians are asked to assess various aspects of engagement by indicating how much they agree or disagree with the engagement statements. Responses are calculated on a 5-point scale where “Strongly Agree” = 5 points, “Agree” = 4 points, “Neither Agree nor Disagree” = 3 points, “Disagree” = 2 points, and “Strongly Disagree” = 1 point. The engagement statements are valued equally and averaged to create a mean score. Each mean score is then categorized into High, Medium, or Low engagement.

Which physicians answer which questions?

With one exception, every physician has the opportunity to answer each survey questions in each area, including her own area. Perceptions are contagious, so it is important to gather perceptions of hospital services from the broad group of physicians and not only those that use specific services on a daily basis. To be clear, PRC asks physicians to rate their own area. Physicians rating their own department low may indicate internal departmental conflicts that need to be addressed. Physicians rating their own service area much higher than others rate that service area may indicate a gap in communication of what that specific department is offering, how that department is performing, etc..

Exception: PRC asks every physician the overall question in the Surgical Services service area, but not the specific questions pertaining to Surgical Services. PRC made this logistical decision because historically, too many physicians did not feel comfortable answering the specific Surgical Services questions.

How are the questions chosen?

The PRC Physician Engagement Survey is designed to measure hospital-based service areas. While there are many questions hospitals could ask their physicians, the survey is designed to measure the areas that the hospital could most easily influence and change – the hospital-based service areas. Non-hospital-based services, such as Cardiology, OB, and Oncology Services are areas that hospitals have less control over, and physicians have less interaction with, so the results gained from those types of questions are not as actionable.

PRC performs an annual audit of the Physician Engagement Base Survey to determine if the current questions are still relevant and if any new questions are necessary. The questions included in the PRC Base Survey have been chosen due to their high probability of being a Key Driver of ExcellenceSM. In addition, PRC reviews the question order and wording to ensure that the survey flow is smooth and logical. 

Why does PRC focus on the top box of “Excellent?”

Phys Quality

Throughout the survey, physicians’ perceptions are measured using a five-point scale of “Excellent,” “Very Good,” “Good,” “Fair,” and “Poor.” In order to foster loyalty to your healthcare organization among physicians, PRC recommends you focus on improving “Good” and “Very Good” ratings to “Excellent.” PRC’s research shows physicians who rate the Overall Quality of Care as “Excellent” are three times more likely to recommend your hospital.