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Improving Your Office Testing Process

Patient Engagement

Table of Contents

The Patient Engagement Survey can help you to assess your patients' understanding of their tests and their knowledge about what they should do after receiving test results.

Use this tool to measure patient understanding at baseline and again after changes have been implemented.

Using the Survey

You can administer this survey to assess patient understanding at one of two points in the testing process.

  1. After a patient has a test ordered or performed, but before the results are back.
  2. After a patient has been notified of their test results. An optional question designed for offices where patient followup is a problem can be used.

Follow these steps to use the survey: Photo depicts a male health care provider talking with a female patient.

  • Prepare a list of patients to survey. You can identify patients who had a test ordered or those who were notified of test results in several ways, depending on how your office functions. For example, you can look at a lab log, review charts or the electronic health record at the end of a day, or ask staff or physicians to keep a list for a day or two.
  • We recommend you collect at least 15-20 surveys to look for patterns in responses.
  • You should survey patients within 1-2 days of their visit or notification of results.
  • Use a survey form for each patient. If a patient has had multiple tests, select the answer you think best represents the patient's understanding.

Scoring the Responses

  • Add up the responses for each question.
  • Identify the questions with the highest proportion of 'no' responses.
  • Optional Question: Compare responses to information in the patient record to determine the accuracy of communication with the patient.

Interpreting the Results

Many "no" responses to a question indicate:

  • An area where errors may occur.
  • An area to improve your patients' knowledge about their tests. Sample another group of patients after you implement a change to assess whether your change improved their understanding of the role they play in the testing process.

Patient Engagement and Patient Safety

We know that:

  • Patients often do not know what test has been ordered or why it has been ordered.
  • Patients may not know when to expect test results.
  • Patients often assume or may be told that "no news is good news" and so may not take the initiative to get their results.
  • Patients encounter challenges in following up on abnormal results and may require additional support.

Patient Engagement Survey

Date: _____________ Survey No. _________________


  • Ask patients in person or by phone about their experiences. Complete only one section for each patient, depending on where they are in the testing process.
  • Tell the patient that this survey will be used to improve patient safety in the office and that his/her responses will not be shared with other staff, including physicians.
1. After patients have medical tests:
1. Do you know what medical tests
were ordered for you at your last
office visit?
Yes ___ No ___
2. Do you know why the test (or tests)
was ordered?

___ Routine check-up or screening
___ Check current condition
___ Identify the cause of symptoms
___ Don't know
___ Other

Yes ___ No ___
3. Do you know when to expect your
test results?
Yes ___ No ___
4. Do you know what to do if you don't
hear from us when your test results
are due?
Yes ___ No ___
5. Did you tell us how you would like to
be contacted with your test results?

___ Office visit
___ Phone call
___ Card/letter
___ Electronic patient portal
___ Email to

Yes ___ No ___
2. After patients receive their results:
1. Did you receive your test results? If
the answer is "no," the survey is
Yes ___ No ___
2. Were you given clear instructions,
advice, or information about following
up on your test result?
Yes ___ No ___
3. Does the patient's response cor-
respond with his/her medical
Yes ___ No ___

Optional question if patient followup is problematic:

What were you told about your test result (mark all that apply)?

___ The test was normal
___ Continue the same medication or treatment
___ Return to the office for more tests
___ Change medication or treatment
___ See a specialist or go to another facility

Encuesta sobre participación de pacientes

Fecha: _____________ Encuesta No. _________________


  • Pregunte al paciente en persona o por teléfono acerca de su experiencia. Complete sólo una sección por paciente y dependiendo de dónde se encuentra en el proceso de los exámenes.
  • Dígale al paciente que esta encuesta se usará para mejorar la seguridad de los pacientes en la clínica y que sus respuestas no se compartirán con otros empleados, ni con los médicos.
1. Después que los pacientes se hacen los exámenes médicos:
1. ¿Sabe usted qué exámenes médicos
le ordenaron cuando visitó la clínica
la última vez?
Si ___ No ___
2. ¿Sabe usted por qué le ordenaron
los exámenes médicos?

___ Examen de rutina o de detección
___ Examinar por una condición actual
___ Encontrar la causa de síntomas
___ No sé
___ Otro

Si ___ No ___
3. ¿Sabe usted cuándo estarán listos los
resultados de sus exámenes
Si ___ No ___
4. ¿Sabe lo que debe hacer si no le
llamamos con los resultados de sus
exámenes en la fecha en que deben
estar listos?
Si ___ No ___
5. ¿Nos informó cómo prefiere que nos
comuniquemos con usted para darle
los resultados de sus exámenes?

___ Visita a la clínica
___ Por teléfono
___ Una carta
___ Portal electrónico para pacientes
___ Correo electrónico a

Si ___ No ___
2. Después que los pacientes reciben sus resultados:
1. ¿Recibió usted el resultado de sus
exámenes? Si la respuesta es “no”,
termine la encuesta.
Si ___ No ___
2. ¿Le dieron instrucciones, consejos e
información clara acerca de cómo dar
seguimiento con los resultados de
sus exámenes?
Si ___ No ___
3. ¿Corresponde la respuesta del
paciente con su expediente
Si ___ No ___

Pregunta opcional si el seguimiento del paciente es problemático:

¿Qué le dijeron sobre los resultados de sus exámenes? (marque todas las respuestas que aplican)

___ El resultado del examen fue normal
___ Continuar el mismo medicamento o tratamiento
___ Regresar a la clínica para más exámenes médicos
___ Cambiar el medicamento o tratamiento
___ Ver a un especialista o ir a otra clínica

Page last reviewed August 2013
Page originally created August 2013
Internet Citation: Patient Engagement. Content last reviewed August 2013. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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