- Improving patient experience can drastically improve your practice. So it's worth implementing tips like hiring excellent staff, staying in touch with patience, and implementing a process for handling complaints
Healthcare is first and foremost a customer service industry. No matter how skilled and experienced your physicians are, patients won’t be happy if they felt that they were disrespected or inconvenienced in any way.
That said, below are proven tips to improve customer experience and stand out from the competition.
Effective communication is key to great customer service. It involves not just verbal cues, but also facial expressions and body language. Real communication is all about ensuring that patients feel heard and valued in any situation.
That said, good communication starts with putting yourself in the shoes of the patient. Listen to their concerns, make eye contact, and answer all their questions as clearly as you can. Avoid complicated jargon and vague explanations as they may result in misinterpretations. And in the medical industry, a simple error can endanger someone’s life. Not all patients are familiar with medical terms, so always make sure your tone is friendly and your language accessible.
Avoid arguments with patients. Even if you disagree with them, they still deserve respect. Politely explain the situation to them and guide them every step of their treatment.
Streamline administrative tasks
Administrative tasks, such as billing, insurance verification, and payment processing, are just as important as clinical duties. They may feel repetitive and tedious, but they play a huge part in patient care experience. Any delays, errors, and miscommunications can tarnish an otherwise positive impression.
Fortunately, there are several ways you can accomplish these tasks quicker and easier. Taking advantage of a medical practice management service, for example, helps streamline repetitive tasks and improve efficiency. It allows staff to verify patient data, insurance coverage, and balances due with just a few clicks. Most medical practice software also features integrated credit card processing to assist you in collecting balances and posting payments to patient accounts. This streamlined process enables you to collect payments on time and maintain a healthy cash flow. The result is a more productive team focused on helping patients and finding new ways to improve quality of care.
Switch to digital
Hospitals and clinics may not be the most pleasant places to be, but there’s still a way to put patients at ease and provide them with a convenient experience from the moment they walk in.
One thing you can do is invest in tech tools that reduce the need for paperwork and time spent in the waiting room. Digitizing patient forms can speed up the process and decrease the chances of errors or misinterpretation due to ineligible script.
Collecting customer feedback shows that you value your patients’ opinions and needs. A simple phone call or online survey can help you measure patient satisfaction and ensure their needs are heard and addressed.
Patient feedback identifies the strengths and weaknesses of your services. It can help you figure out what works and what doesn’t and make necessary improvements that align with their needs. Their opinions will be key to exceeding their expectations, solving their problems, and satisfying their needs.
Address complaints properly
As with any business, no hospital or private practice is perfect. You may receive complaints now and then about your service, but don’t let them discourage you. Instead, focus on how you can bounce back from your mistakes and improve your processes.
That said, there are patients who are harder to please than others. The best thing you can do is to listen, take their concerns seriously, and assure them that you will do everything you can to fix the issue. An antagonized customer is likely to share negative comments online that could tarnish your brand image.
Hire friendly and competent staff
Your employees are the lifeline of your business. Much of the success of your practice will depend largely on the skills and attitude of your staff.
That said, choose a team that’s actually passionate about healthcare. Nurses, doctors, and other staff members must always maintain a positive and caring attitude to help patients feel at ease.
Additionally, it’s vital to select people who are patient, dedicated, and adaptable. They must be able to manage long hours and keep up with a patient’s ever-evolving moods and needs. Finding the perfect person for the job can help reduce turnover rates and increase patient satisfaction.
Stay in touch with patients
Healthcare doesn’t end once the appointment is over, and the patient exits your facility. Staying in touch with patients will help you track their recovery better and adjust treatment as they go along.
Keeping communication lines open is also critical to building trust and credibility with patients. For instance, you can send out newsletters or create a blog that aims to educate readers on different health issues.
From nurses to physicians and billing staff, every single member of the practice plays a critical role in creating a positive patient experience. Understanding a patient’s expectations, needs, and situation is essential to building long-lasting customer relationships.