About one-quarter (25 percent) of patients leave medical practices every year for reasons that may be unknown to practitioners until complaints or poor reviews appear online. Here are four ways you can stimulate more positive online reviews:
1) Patient satisfaction surveys. Conduct quarterly satisfaction surveys either on your own or through a third party that offers this service. Pay attention to the results. Correct any problems quickly. With ACA’s Medicare stipulations, physician satisfaction scores will be linked to reimbursement by 2015. The time to craft a process and get your practice in line is now.
2) Train your staff. Untrained, unprofessional staff can send your patients packing in a heartbeat. Engage with a company (like Practice Builders) that specializes in complete onsite healthcare staff training, and create a reward system for staff members who interact with patients. Remember: What gets measured – and rewarded – gets managed.
3) Improve the patient experience. Patients routinely cite long wait times and rushed visits as reasons for leaving a practice. Help your front desk schedule the appropriate amount of time for each patient. If you are running late, develop a system for notifying patients in advance. Patients will feel more valued and forgive the occasional delay if you respect their time and show it by your actions.
4) Connect with your patients. If you can truly listen to patients and let them know you are listening, you can connect on a deeper emotional level. Remember that most patients have not had the benefit of your medical training and will not understand clinical terminology. Speak to them in lay terms. Understand that they may not tell you their biggest concern until you ask, “And what else is going on?” Remember to be a human being first and a doctor second in patient interactions.