Listen to members through satisfaction surveys

Plan makes changes to better serve its customers

Member satisfaction surveys give health plans a chance to hear the voice of the customer, says Terri Cox Glassen, RN, MN, assistant vice president of consumer satisfaction for CIGNA HealthCare with headquarters in Bloomfield, CT.

The health plan monitors member satisfaction on several levels. A national survey is done annually to measure member perception.

"We look at operational matters such as how we managed complaints and appeals, as well as general questions about how the members feel," Cox Glassen says.

When it comes to improving quality, whether it’s clinical or service, the company’s policy is to hear from every stakeholder, she says.

After the survey results are in, the health plan targets areas of improvement and comes up with ways to improve services. For instance, in 2000, 28% of customers surveyed reported problems related to inappropriate billing. The next year, after a series of initiatives, the figure was down to 14%.

Members who have had any kind of experience with CIGNA HealthCare received a short mailed survey with questions about the referral process, experiences with the network, and opinions about the number of physicians in the plan in their area.

Throughout the year, the company conducts specific member satisfaction surveys for participants in its disease management programs.

The members who participate increasingly are more satisfied the longer they stay in the program, Cox Glassen adds.

"Each year, the programs are evaluated, and we consider feedback from our customers in making changes such as revising the materials that are sent back. Our disease management staff uses the feedback to restructure the programs, and they get better as they go along," she says.