Providing high quality care is now simply one aspect of building a successful and thriving practice. Providers now also have to pay attention to little things, providing a high quality and efficient patient experience.
The patient journey is a long one, and it offers many opportunities for practices to show patients that they offer a superior experience when compared to the competition. Each and every step of this journey must be meticulously designed in a way that maximizes patient ease and convenience. Surveys show that 72% of patients would switch providers for a superior experience, showing just how important this aspect of practice management is to maintaining a steady flow of patients.
Keep reading for 8 tips & tricks to improve the patient experience.
A strong online presence
With the vast majority of patients now using the internet to look for their next appointment, establishing a strong online presence using your website and profiles on various directories is the first step to reaching them.
Your website is your online hub and thus needs to reflect the kind of brand you want to create. Content on the website should include clear and consistently written information that gives patients a clear idea of what top expect from the practice. The pages you’ll need include About Us, Contact and Services. Include high resolution images of the practice to make it easier for patients who are skimming through to get a clear idea of what your practice is like. Testimonials from existing and past patients will add legitimacy and generate trust with patients.
Modern patients desire convenience in their healthcare. The first step to providing this convenience is to offer the ability to book appointments online. Surveys show that 43% of patients prefer online appointment booking. The percentage is not insignificant and the truth is that patients want desperately for providers to offer these modern conveniences, which has been frustrating given how slow the healthcare industry usually adapts to new technological advances.
Appointment confirmations and reminders
Patients are always busy. Being so busy means they are often late for their appointments or fail to make them altogether. Providers should help them by maintaining communication through automated messages for appointment confirmations and reminders from their EHR Software. Not only do these make it easier for patients to make their appointments, they also save valuable time and money for the practice.
The large majority of patients want and will greatly appreciate these reminders over text message. Send one message after appointment booking to confirm and send one up to 3 days before the actual appointment as a reminder.
Arriving at the practice only to be asked to fill put intake forms can be annoying and tedious for patients. Remove this annoyance by offering all of the necessary intake forms online for patients to fill out in the comfort of their own home. When they arrive at the practice they can proceed straight to the examination room.
Comfortable waiting room
A comfortable and welcoming waiting room will be seen as a blessing by patients. As they arrive at the practice after a long and hectic work day the waiting room should allow them a brief reprieve from the stresses of everyday life as they wait to see their physician. Comfortable seating, warm lighting and relaxing music all help create the ideal waiting room experience.
Short wait times
It is unrealistic to expect there to be no waiting at a medical practice. However, should the wait time go on for too long and become unreasonable it can understandably frustrate some patients. As we said before, these are busy people, and inordinately long waiting times can make them feel like the practice does not respect their time. If waiting times are expected to be long, have staff inform patients ahead of time. They will appreciate that the practice does respect their time.
Feedback is an important aspect of running any business. The business needs to know what aspects of their service are not up to scratch from the customer’s point of view and customers like to feel like they are being heard. The same applies to healthcare practices, especially now that patients are more interested than ever in being involved with their own healthcare. This involvement can be achieved by something as simple as an automated post-visit survey sent via text or email.
This type of automated survey will yield higher engagement numbers as patients are unlikely to go out of their way to fill one out on their own. The feedback received will also be of a higher quality as the visit itself will still be fresh in their minds.
Post helpful content on social media and blogs
Content marketing is one of the easiest forms of marketing to get into, and one the hardest to master. It provides an easy method of engaging patients and getting them to click on your links, but the content itself must be interesting and helpful enough that they are compelled to follow. Not only is this a great avenue for providing valuable healthcare information, it also offers a fantastic opportunity for the physicians in your practice to establish their expertise in their specialty by offering informative original content. Sharing blogs on social media is also a great way of getting more clicks and creates a steady inflow of visitors to your website as social media has far greater reach.