Throughout the past year, healthcare organizations worldwide were required to pivot their practices to fit the new normal. From creating new or improved digital processes, managing in-person appointments, staff changes, and more, all of which ultimately affect the patient experience. We’ve previously covered what patient experience is and why it’s important. Now, more than ever, the patient experience remains important for a successful healthcare practice. But how can you improve yours?
What is patient experience, and why does it matter?
Patient experience is what patients encounter throughout every aspect and interaction of their healthcare journey. It encompasses every patient touchpoint — from the ease of booking appointments, provider communication, cost transparency, and even the look and feel of your practice — online and offline. Considering the patient experience is vital, as your patients are the key to a successful practice.
How To Improve the Patient Experience
In today’s online landscape, a bad patient experience is only a TikTok away from going viral and ruining your practice. However, every healthcare practice must invest not only in their staff but also in the patient experience. We’ll discuss a few tips and recommendations for you to ensure your practice offers the best patient experience possible.
1. Existing Brand Reputation
Did you know that 91% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations? On top of that, COVID-19 has led to substantial changes in how medicine is practiced — which can lead to negative patient experiences and reviews. By proactively auditing your brand’s current reputation through your online reviews, you can identify the areas that need improvement and implement strong review management or solicitation campaign.
2. Continually Improve Upon Your Communication Strategies
As we’ve seen over the past year, our world as we know it can change in a few days. Many practices rushed to inform patients of new processes, business hours, and staff availability. By remaining proactive with patient communication through email marketing, social media, and regular website updates, your practice can stay ahead of the curve and avoid any patient confusion. It’s also essential to ensure that any client-facing information is kept up to date and is consistent online and off.
3. Utilize the Latest Technology
In the early half of 2020, patient adoption of healthcare technology — specifically telehealth appointments — rose by more than 30%. While this could be attributed to the worldwide pandemic, patient interest in virtual healthcare options has steadily increased since 2018. In addition to telehealth, according to a 2019 study, 68% of patients say they are more likely to choose a provider that can book, change, and manage appointments online.
4. Cut Down on Wait Times by Offering Patient Registration Online
The most common patient complaints usually involve extended wait times. By offering patients the ability to download and or digitally fill out new patient registration requirements, patients and practices alike can expect to experience a significant reduction in wait times and smoother appointment turn-around times for staff.
5. Make Sure You Have the Right Team
Your front office staff is often the first touchpoint for patients interacting with your practice and one of the first experiences your patients will have. Ensure your staff knows how important patient interactions are through training and continued support. Front office procedures should aim to be patient-friendly, with staff providing a warm and comfortable environment for every patient.