We are sure you know that the patient’s perception of care at your practice is important, but how important is it? The short answer is that it is now more important than ever to focus on the patient experience. Patients are consumers which means they are more involved in choosing their place of care and the clinicians who provide it.
With primary care competition increasing with the growth of retail clinics, the time is now to focus on the patient experience.
Here are FIVE ways to improve the patient experience at your medical practice…
Focus on Face Time
One consistent complaint heard across the industry is that providers are too buried in their EHR system to see, hear, and listen to their patients. With all of the regulations mandating documentation within an EHR, it may seem impossible to change this habit… but it’s not. You and other clinicians at your practice can work towards increasing patient face time by moving non-clinical documentation off of the doctor’s plate. Nurses, PA’s, and other members of the care team may be able to step in and take some of this burden off of the doctor. Coupled with this, there are voice recognition tools that will document inside of the system for the doctor during the encounter. The bottom line is that patients want their providers to be patient and to treat them as a human being. We can all make strides to improve this in our practices.
Transparency goes a long way when it comes to keeping patients at your practice happy. Patients want transparency when it comes to pricing for procedures, visits, and tests. They also want transparency about care plans. Remember that patients today have high deductible plans. This means they are strategically thinking about what providers they want to manager their healthcare. If they are going to spend more money for care, they want to choose a doctor who they can trust. Transparency can help you bridge that gap with your patient base.
Patient Portal Use
Patient portal use can empower your patients to take a more involved approach to their healthcare. With access to their health records and a direct line of communication to their care team, patients who utilize this tool will find more satisfaction in their practice. It is important to note that practices need to do a better job at endorsing the use of patient portals to their patient base. These tools only work at boosting the patient experience if the patient and practice are both using it to its full potential.
This one should go without saying. Your front office staff should be open, engaging, and friendly when a patient first enters the office. These personnel are often the first person that a patient sees and the last one before leaving. Train your front office staff to be great customer service people. Encourage them to learn the faces of the patients that enter your office and address them as such when they come in for an exam. Being friendly and providing excellent customer service from the start of an appointment can go a long way in creating a positive patient experience.
The more access your patients have to your practice, the more likely they are to be compliant with treatment plans, contact you with questions, and follow through with appointments. An online presence can show first hand how welcoming your practice is and how involved you are as a provider. With an online presence, your practice can also begin to accept online payments to speed up the collection process and proceed with online appointment scheduling. This make your practice more accessible and appealing to patients who prefer to do things digitally. Allowing your patients and prospects to do things electronically can improve the patient experience significantly.
Improving the patient experience goes hand in hand with improving your practice. The more efficiently and patient centric your practice operates, the happier the patients you serve will be with their experience at your practice.