It wasn’t long ago when every medical practice claimed that the key to gaining and retaining patients was the quality of service they delivered. But now things have changed.
Now, an even more critical success factor has emerged: patient experience in healthcare.
What Is Patient Experience?
Patient experience is defined by the interactions and experiences your patient has with you and your staff throughout the patient journey, from the first phone call to becoming a happy and loyal patient.
Patient experience is an integral part of your practice’s growth and success because a patient who has a positive experience with your practice is more likely to become a repeat and loyal patient.
In fact, a positive experience impacts the willingness of a patient to be a loyal brand advocate. So if you want your patients to stay loyal to your brand, you have to invest in delivering a pleasant experience!
The happier your patients are with your services, the longer they will stay with you. If you treat your patients poorly or ignore their needs, they are more likely to stop visiting you. This is the reason medical practices that deliver a superior patient experience outperform their competitors.
Why Is Patient Experience Important?
Delivering an exceptional patient experience is immensely crucial for any medical practice. The better experience patients have, the more repeat business and positive reviews you’ll receive while reducing patient complaints and churn.
All medical practices, irrespective of size and specialty, can benefit from improving the patient experience – they can increase retention, reduce complaints, attract new patients through word-of-mouth marketing and gain positive reviews and recommendations.
In fact, we challenge you to tell us a type of medical practice that doesn’t benefit from providing an exceptional patient experience. Putting patients first is always good for both your profitability and online reputation.
To discover more about why improving patient experience is a top priority for doctors, read here.
What Comprises Good Patient Experience?
There are patient experience best practices or checklists that guarantees success. Your medical practice is unique, and so are your patients. However, there are several creative ways to increase patient satisfaction that, if followed, will help you deliver good patient experience:
- Make listening to patients a top priority.
- Implement a system to collect patient feedback.
- Use patient feedback to understand your patients.
- Solve your patients’ problems as soon as possible.
Strategies to Improve Patient Experience
Here are the top five ways to help you deliver a fantastic patient experience, reduce churn and increase the bottom line.
1. Create a Patient-Focused Vision
The first step in your patient experience strategy is to have a clear patient-focused vision that you can communicate with your employees. The most effective way to define this vision is to create a set of standards that act as guiding principles. Once these guiding principles are in place, they will drive the behavior of your staff.
2. Understand Your Target Audience
If your medical practice wants to understand patients’ needs, they need to be able to connect with the situations your patients face. One way to connect is to create patient personas. By creating these personas, your care team can recognize who they are and understand them better.
3. Gather Patient Feedback
How will you know if you are delivering a WOW experience? By asking the patient and capturing his/her feedback. You can either ask your patients when they come in for a consultation or use tools like live chat to have real-time conversations. You can also consider sending them follow-up emails using surveys and similar tools. Of course, your staff can make outbound calls to patients to gather in-depth feedback.
4. Replace Marketing With Patient Service
Healthcare marketing means educating patients on what’s great about your services and encouraging them to visit your office. But the Internet-driven healthcare landscape has shifted patients’ decision-making processes. They are more aware of the options they have and the pros and cons of your service. This is when patient service becomes a differentiator. It’s crucial to assure patients that you are interested in more than just selling your services. Let your patients know you are there to help them.
5. Measure the ROI From Delivering Great Patient Experience
How do you know if all this effort and investment in your staff, processes and technology is working and paying off? The answer is in the ROI. Measuring patient experience is one of the key challenges faced by medical practices, which is why many medical practices use the Net Promoter Score to collect valuable information by asking a single straightforward question: “How likely is it that you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague?”
A patient experience improvement strategy is an ongoing process. So be prepared to modify and improve continually. It is also a good idea to reward employees who put a smile on patients’ faces. Remember, patient experience provides a vast opportunity to create loyal patients. With the right strategy in place, the sky’s the limit.
If you have questions or you want to discuss how Practice Builders can help improve your patient experience, feel free to connect with our experts for a quick chat.