Today’s healthcare space has grown more competitive than ever, forcing private practices to increase the quality of their service and improve the patient experience. Healthcare consumers have become proactive, researching different providers before choosing which one to choose.
This change has driven hospitals and care providers to evolve to meet the new breed of healthcare consumers’ needs. Your private practice must grow, too, if you want to stay profitable. Keeping up with the industry changes not only helps you remain competitive, but it also enables you to maintain a high level of patient satisfaction.
Patient Satisfaction and Experience
Many studies point to the importance of patient satisfaction in medical practice. First, patient feedback drives healthcare firms to improve their facilities and provide relative luxuries to inpatients to aid their comfort and recovery.
Although more conclusive evidence is still needed, some studies also point to the correlation between patient satisfaction and better clinical outcomes. The logic is that satisfied patients are more likely to adhere to their treatment plans, aiding their recovery.
Meeting your patients’ expectations is critical to building positive, healthy relationships with them. Satisfied patients are more likely to come back to your practice since they’re already sure of your service quality. This helps you increase your patient retention, which can bring more revenues to your practice.
How do you make sure your patients are satisfied with your service?
Apart from providing high-quality care, you also want to focus on the patient experience. Patient experience refers to a person’s interaction with you as a healthcare provider, from the minute they learn about your brand until they leave the doors of your office after a consultation or treatment.
From waiting in the lobby to paying their bills, patients have a lot of expectations from a private practice, which influences their satisfaction. These micro-moments should form a patient experience that is easy and comfortable – two factors that are especially critical for patients who may be in pain or a critical condition.
A positive patient experience increases their satisfaction with your practice, leading to higher retention rates and revenues.
Implement these three strategies in your private practice to improve your patient experience and satisfaction
- Reduce patient waiting time
Patients hate long waiting times – whether it’s waiting for their turn with the doctor, lining up to pay their bills, or trying to schedule an appointment. Research shows a strong correlation between the duration of a patient’s wait time and their rating of the practice.
Thirty percent admit to leaving the clinic after waiting for a significant period. And 20 percent would rather go to another healthcare provider than wait.
Healthcare software can help you minimize your wait times. Patient portals and medical practice management software streamline administrative chores, such as admission, appointment scheduling, bills payment, and other tasks that require time-consuming paperwork for the patients.
If you’re not ready to integrate an advanced healthcare software into your practice yet, a simple mobile queue system can also help you decrease wait times. They’ll receive an SMS when it’s time for their appointment. Patients can run errands, grab a meal, or relax in a nearby café while waiting for their turn at the doctor.
- Improve patient flow
Inefficient patient flow is one of the major causes of long wait times. Overbooking, poor communication, and no-shows can throw off your schedule for the day, resulting in overcrowding and long waiting times.
Use a secure and robust scheduling system to get as many patients in and out the door as possible. If you’re using a manual system, consider digitizing it to reduce the workload of your staff. Plus, a computerized scheduling system makes sure you have no big gaps or overlaps in your schedule.
Confirm appointments and set up a notification system to remind patients of their consultations. Make sure your patients have a way of informing you if they can’t come in for their appointment. No-shows cost you money, so you want to maximize your time if you have unexpected cancellations.
With proper scheduling, you can increase your practice productivity. You’ll be able to accommodate one or two more patients in a day, which translates to more net income.
- Offer remote consultation services
Remote clinical services not only minimize wait times but can also be extremely beneficial for patients with mobility and transport issues. Older adults and people with disabilities can schedule consultations, receive diagnoses, and renew their prescriptions using smartphones or computers.
Telehealth also makes it easier for the patient and the physician to find a common time, which results in more frequent consultations. This allows you to keep a closer watch on your patients’ health, enabling you to assess symptoms and health issues with accuracy.
Another benefit of virtual consultations is that it helps reduce your no-shows and late cancellations. If patients don’t need to brave traffic, find a babysitter, or take time off to visit the doctor, they’re more likely to make their appointment.
Evaluating the micro-moments where patients encounter your brand is the first step to establishing an excellent patient experience. The goal is to make sure that all aspects of your healthcare delivery are geared toward your patients’ needs. By ensuring a positive patient experience, you increase their satisfaction and extend the reach and improve the quality of the care you provide.