Improving patient experiences when receiving healthcare services can include the full range of interactions patients have with your practice when receiving care including booking, attending, and following-up appointments. While patient outcomes should always be at the forefront of a practitioner’s mind, there are a number of alternate points in the healthcare journey that can have a dramatic impact on a patient’s feelings about the care you deliver. In this resource, we’ve highlighted some of the non-clinical patient experience improvement strategies that support patient engagement and satisfaction with care.
Establish Patient Connections Online
Your online presence, including your patient portal and provider directories, is a first impression for potential patients. Like it or not, you have a brand, and optimal patient care means leveraging that brand to build trust and credibility. Develop an effective practice website with thorough but straightforward about us, services, and contact pages, offering concise and consistent information across your site. Photos of your practice as well as patient testimonials can also improve credibility and introduce you to your online audience.
Sharing valuable healthcare information on your social media profiles is also an excellent way to boost patient satisfaction with relevant information. Address common patient inquiries by creating timely, educational content. Mix your original content with relevant medical blogs and news articles to establish your expertise. Sharing your own blog posts on social media channels can drive patient traffic to your practice website.
Activate Online Appointment Booking
Make it convenient for patients to book their appointments online any time they’d like. This flexibility will help to avoid no-shows and patient frustration. This kind of instant accessibility may seem small, but it goes a long way to putting the patient at ease. Your practice will also benefit from the reduced administrative overhead and simplified rescheduling.
Remind Patients of Appointments
Patients lead busy lives so keep them engaged by sending appointment confirmations and reminders. Automated reminders show respect for a patient’s time and can reduce appointment no-shows. Send messages across different platforms including text messages, email, or direct messages through patient portals for communications that are efficient and effective.
Provide Online Forms
Simplify the patient experience by offering online intake forms and registration documents. Allowing patients to complete paperwork at their convenience prevents last-minute rushes before appointments.
Cultivate a Welcoming Lobby and Front Office
A welcoming and friendly front office staff is pivotal to creating a positive patient experience. This can start with simple gestures, such as smiles during check-in, to set the right tone for the visit. A comfortable and well-decorated waiting room offers comfort and relaxation to patients. Avoid harsh lighting. Add comfortable seating and calming background music. Set up a TV and play interesting health-related content on it. Children’s shows are also great for many offices. Magazine racks can display important information as well as literature to pass the time.
Minimize Wait Times
Although some wait time is understandable, excessive delays frustrate patients. Clear communication is key, as are expectations. Inform patients if there are delays and provide them with an estimated wait time to demonstrate transparency and respect for their schedules.
Prioritize Improved Bedside Manner
Empathy and active listening, as well as medical expertise, are vital in health care. Providing a thorough examination along with a warm, caring, and friendly demeanor is essential. Ensure patients leave with a clear understanding of their treatment plan.
Solicit Patient Feedback
Engage with patients after their visits with a thoughtful follow-up. Sending automated patient satisfaction surveys via text or email increases participation. These surveys are most effective when sent shortly after the visit when the experience is fresh in the patient’s mind. Utilize survey results to enhance your services and collect positive patient reviews. A system of collection and implementation of qualitative patient data can be used to systematically target patient experience for better outcomes.
Connect Outside the Appointment Room
Acknowledging and responding to both positive and negative feedback post-appointment is crucial. Thoughtful responses build trust and demonstrate your commitment to patients’ experiences. Online patient portals provide a way to facilitate an open dialogue about the patient’s experience as well as an avenue for follow-up. If you don’t have a patient portal, try email for patient feedback. You can also use digital online tools to solicit patient reviews as well as provide your own surveys.