Improve your practice’s patient experience for better health outcomes

Patients are human beings. Healthcare systems and practices will thrive when they treat patients like human beings. So if you’re a healthcare professional, start treating patients like the people they are: with respect and dignity. Until recently, doctors have been largely insulated from this reality because of the complex nature of the healthcare system. But times have changed; as more people shop for healthcare than ever before, patient experience has become an important way to differentiate your practice from others in your area. In other words: if you want to attract new patients and keep existing ones, patient experience is now a huge part of what makes or breaks your business model. It’s not about being nice; it’s about running a successful practice and fulfilling the mission of improving people’s lives through better health outcomes.

Don’t wait for patients to complain before you do something.

5 Ways to improve your practice’s patient experience

1. Don’t treat patient experience as a luxury; treat it as necessity.

Patient experience is a critical part of the healthcare experience. It’s also a critical part of patient satisfaction, patient engagement, and even patient loyalty.

It’s easy to see why: when your patients have good experiences with you and your practice, they’re more likely to feel satisfied with their care and return again in the future. On the other hand, bad experiences lead them to leave your practice — and that means losing revenue and goodwill with every unhappy patient who leaves town for another doctor’s office or facility.

2. Make communication easy, always.

Ensuring that your patients can easily reach you is a simple but effective way to boost their experience. For example, by using online forms, chatbots and other tools you can make it easy for patients to contact you. Make sure that your practice is accessible on the channels your patients use — emails and social media are just as important as phone lines! You should also have a clear and easy-to-use appointment booking system so that even if they need help scheduling an appointment, it’s not too much of an inconvenience.

3. Reduce wait times.

Long wait time is a major concern for most patients and they would typically prefer a provider who guarantees a reduced wait time. Here are a few ways you can manage your schedule to reduce patient wait times in your practice.

  1. Make sure you have enough staff to handle the workload.
  2. Make sure you have enough exam rooms and equipments to handle the workload.
  3. Empower your patients to book and schedule their appointments ahead of their visits
  4. Use a digital platform like Frontdesk to manage your schedules and communicate any last minute changes to your patients.

4. Improve your online reputation.

As a health care provider, your online reputation is extremely important. It can impact everything from patient retention to patient acquisition. Here’s how you can improve your online reputation:

  1. Make sure the information on your website and social media accounts is accurate. If there are any errors, fix them immediately.
  2. Use Frontdesk to collect and publish patient feedback to your Google listing
  3. Respond promptly to negative reviews or complaints posted on review sites (e.g., Google). Hint: Don’t attack the reviewer; instead, thank them for their feedback and explain how you plan to improve the experience going forward. If necessary, offer an apology or ask how else you can help rectify what happened (as long as it doesn’t involve giving away free services).
  4. Monitor your listings regularly so that they’re current and up-to-date with all of your contact information — especially phone numbers!

5. Give patients opportunities to be involved in their care decisions.

As a healthcare provider, one of your main goals should be to provide patients with an excellent experience. In order to do this, you have to take a moment and consider what exactly constitutes an enjoyable visit. While there are many factors that go into having a good time at the doctor’s office, one of the most important is feeling like you were involved in making decisions about your care — not just receiving it.

Patients who feel they were given ample opportunity to participate in their diagnosis or treatment tend to be more satisfied with their visits overall than those who did not have such opportunities. This is especially true when it comes to matters as serious as surgery or treatment for cancer, which often require significant input from both patient and doctor before moving forward. In addition to helping patients make informed choices about their health and well-being, being involved in these decisions gives them greater confidence going forward; knowing that they had some say over how they receive care will likely make them feel more comfortable engaging with all aspects of their treatment plan.

In order for patients’ voices to be heard within your practice or hospital system (no matter how large or small), providers must first understand what patients expect from those interactions:

Why should you care?

As healthcare becomes more patient-centric, it is important to realize that patients are not a homogeneous group. The days of the passive patient who receives care from providers without questioning or voicing their needs are over. Patients today want to be heard and understood, and they expect to have some say in the quality of their care.

Patients are also more informed than ever before about the options available to them. They know what other practices offer, how much they charge for services, how long you’ve been in business (and if there have been any negative reviews), who your doctors are affiliated with, what kinds of research has been done on your treatments (or lack thereof), etc., and they feel empowered to make decisions based on this information.

If you aren’t proactive with your own patient experience strategy, then don’t be surprised when someone else starts stealing market share from you — otherwise known as “being disrupted.”

How does Frontdesk improve my patient experience?

Frontdesk enables healthcare businesses and providers to digitize patient engagement by streamlining appointment scheduling, messaging, reminders, payments and feedback process. Learn more about how Frontdesk helps practices digitize patient experience here:

Conclusion

Patient experience is just as good to your practice as it is to the patient. It is a good indicator for future patient loyalty, patient referrals, and even growth (employee retention). It’s also an opportunity for you to demonstrate how much you care about each person who walks through your doors.

“Treat your patients as humans not as patients”

Keep in mind that patients want to be treated like people and not just a number. They want their opinion to matter and they want the experience of talking with the doctor to leave them feeling better than when they walked in. If you can achieve this you will go along way toward creating an environment where patients feel comfortable speaking up about their concerns rather than dismissing them altogether because it doesn’t seem worth the time or effort.

Reference:

How Frontdesk improves my patient experience: https://pneumacare.medium.com/how-does-frontdesk-improve-the-patient-flow-of-my-practice-24769d3e7196

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