A stronger relationship between patients and their healthcare providers is believed to lead to a myriad of benefits, including the earlier detection if disease, reduced costs, better compliance from patients, greater clinical outcomes and more. If you are interested in improving your patient experience, follow these five steps.
Start on the Outside
The way your patients perceive your practice from the moment they arrive can go a long way in terms of offering services that are truly patient-centric. Ensure that your patients have a good impression of your practice before they ever meet you. This can start with a well-designed and patient-friendly website where the general public can learn more about your practice. Include your mission and the credentials of any practicing physicians. Also be sure to include the range of services you offer, office hours and location(s). Consider offering interactive tools that enable your patients to have even more access to information by way of pull-down menus and a portal for patients to make payments, schedule appointments and communicate with you via a secure email platform.
Also make sure your practice has a clean and comfortable office that offers amenities that prove to your patients that they are both important and cared for – this includes in the reception area as well as the exam room.
Give Patients your Attention and Respect
Patients should be given your utmost attention during visits and that attention and care should be able to be perceived from the time they walk through your clinic doors. Ensure that all staff members are trained to offer a certain standard of service that reinforces your commitment to providing a positive patient experience.
Along with granting your patients the attention and respect they deserve, ensure that you offer the best in terms of communication to your patients. Phones should be answered quickly and with enthusiasm. When you meet a patient, introduce yourself and be willing to truly listen to their questions and answer them. When finished with a visit, ask your patient if there is anything else you can do for him or her. Remember that your patients’ experiences are dependent on each member of your staff pulling together to put the needs of your patient first – that includes you as well.
Ease-of-Access Needs to be a Priority
This begins with a scheduling system that is well managed, having enough appointments available for high-priority visits. Strive to ensure that appointments both begin and end on time. This could mean keeping your office and phones open during lunch break or staggering schedules for your staff to ensure this can happen.
Be Committed to Timeliness
For an improved patient experience, be committed to timeliness within your practice. Don’t keep patients waiting for appointments. If they are going to need to wait longer for any reason, check in quickly to let them know how long they may have to wait. Have your entire staff on board with this. Don’t keep patients on hold longer than 30 seconds and don’t send them from one person to another o the phone. Return phone calls and emails quickly as well. Establish a timeframe and communicate it to all staff members and providers so everyone is on the same page.