Measure the satisfaction of clients of the laboratory


The clients of the laboratory are a very good source to discover elements of laboratory service that can be improved. The clients experience the services in another way than the laboratory staff and management, and may indicate weak elements in laboratory service that the laboratory was not aware of. Client satisfaction can be measured passively (through recording of complaints) and actively. In active client satisfaction measurement the laboratory approaches the clients via a satisfaction survey.


Perform a client satisfaction survey to discover points for improvement of the laboratory services. Below follows a stepwise approach to performing a client satisfaction survey.

  • The laboratory has different types of clients, such as patients, clinicians, Ministry of Health, programme managers, funding agencies, etc. The first step is identifying in which group/groups the laboratory wants to measure the satisfaction. In the right-hand column an information sheet from the WHO Laboratory Quality Management System (LQMS) handbook is included that provides background information on clients of the laboratory and satisfaction measurement.
  • In the second step a questionnaire needs to be developed that questions the client about his/her experience regarding all aspects of laboratory service. Think of:
    • Laboratory accessibility
    • Provision of information by the laboratory
    • Provision of services by the laboratory, such as:
      • Timeliness of reporting
      • Clarity of reports
      • Assistance in case of questions
    • Facilities and safety
    • Treatment by staff
    • It is important that the laboratory adds a section to the questionnaires in which clients can write down suggestions for improvement of the laboratory and/or remarks; this way the laboratory can record issues that could have been missed by the questions

    In the sheet provided in the right-hand column example questions are given for each aspect of service that could be used to get an impression on which topic the laboratory can measure client satisfaction. This is not an exhaustive list and should be used as a start. The laboratory itself must add questions. Adapt questions to the target group: don't ask the same questions to the Ministry of Health/sponsor of the laboratory as asked to patients.

  • Pilot each questionnaire in 3 to 5 subjects per target group to see if all the questions are formulated correctly and understood correctly by the interviewees. E.g. if answers indicate that clients misunderstand a question, this question needs to be adapted.
  • Based on the pilot the questionnaires must be optimized and subsequently conducted in a group of randomly selected clients that is large enough to get a representative view on how clients think about the laboratory services.
  • The answers to the questionnaire must be collected in one overview per target group so that points for improvement can easily be identified. Based on this a report must be written that explains when and how the survey was done and the results and points for improvement identified.
  • This report is discussed with laboratory staff and management so that everybody is aware of the points for improvement and also solutions to convert certain points for improvement into practice can already be designed.
  • The laboratory management decides which points for improvement are realistically achievable. A SMART action plan must be drafted to implement these points for improvement.
  • In the following satisfaction survey extra attention must be paid to monitor the improvements made based on the previous survey and to see if these indeed led to improvement of client satisfaction.

Perform the satisfaction survey at least once per two years.

How & who

Laboratory Manager:

  1. Conduct the satisfaction survey following the description above. Draft a report with the points for improvement, discuss these with staff and management and decide which points for improvement are implemented in practice. Ensure implementation of these points using a SMART action plan and monitor if the client satisfaction has improved on these points in the next survey.
  2. Repeat the client satisfaction survey every two years.

Back to Roadmap Activity Overview
This activity belongs to the QSE Customer Focus
ISO15189:2007: 4.1.2 4.15.3
ISO15189:2012: 4.14.3