Boosting Your Patient Experience

Posted Apr 18, 2023 under:

Communication, Empathy, Positive Experiences

Looking to improve on your patient experience strategy? Take a look at some simple ways to make each interaction better for your patient population.

Patient signs forms after entering a medical practice

Improve your patient experiences

A patients experience with your practice or center begins long before they walk through the door. 

Patient experience is a cornerstone of any successful practice or ambulatory surgery center (ASC). From the moment a patient enters to after they’ve left the premises, an emphasis on patient experience provides comfort, trust, and happiness for physicians and patients. There are several ways to boost your patient experience. We’ve outlined a few of those options below:

Start Early

One trick to providing a solid patient experience is offering easy access and benefits before they’ve even stepped foot in your location. Patients often research a location before making contact to schedule a visit or procedure. A robust website and good reviews via sites like Google Reviews provide a window into what they will experience should they decide to visit.

Along with a good website, place emphasis on the patient portal. A hard-to-use patient portal will demoralize patients, and potentially lead them to seek alternatives to visiting your practice or center. Ensure your mission statement, doctor bios, contact information, and office hours are identifiable, either on the homepage or within subpages.

Work with your staff to provide a welcoming tone when speaking with patients. Providing empathy and a comforting voice can help make patients less anxious about their visit or procedure and start their relationship with you on the right foot.

A Warm Environment

When patients arrive at your ASC, make sure the waiting room and building are clean and inviting. As the saying goes, “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” A dirty building exterior or interior can undo the efforts you and your staff have invested in enhancing the patient experience.

When entering your location, visitors should be promptly welcomed and asked a reason for their visit.

Prioritize Communication

Communication between your location and your patients, whether in-person or via email or phone, should be a constant source of emphasis. An inviting tone, being polite, and timeliness are all minor aspects of a patient’s journey. However, they provide big payoffs in how your practice or center is received by patients and the public.

When patients leave a message, prioritize returning their call or email. This showcases your staff’s willingness to exceed expectations, ensuring satisfaction and effectively scheduling patients for their procedure or visit.

While setting a positive tone for communication is critical, responding to negative communication is just as important. Unfortunately, only some visitors will leave entirely happy, potentially leaving a negative review. Appropriately responding to negative reviews is just as important as thanking those who provide positive feedback.

Responding to Negative Feedback

When responding to a negative review, take the time to try to understand the reasoning behind their response. In your response, be sure to maintain a positive attitude and not to degrade or disregard the feelings of the individual who posted.

For example, if a patient says they were disappointed at an extended wait time to see their physician, respond with empathy and understanding. The below example showcases one way to respond to a negative review.

Example: “I was really disappointed in the long wait time to see the doctor. I waited nearly 45 minutes before being seen! I wouldn’t recommend coming here!”

Response: “We’re sorry to hear that you had this issue. We apologize for the extended time you had to wait to be seen by one of our physicians. We have taken note of this and will ensure our patients are properly informed of any reason behind a delay in being seen. Thank you for bringing this to our attention, and we hope to make it up to you during your next visit!”

The response apologizes for the inconvenience. It addresses the issue with the patient and provides an action plan to avoid the same issue in the future.

A proper response to negative reviews boosts your online reputation (even more so than replying to positive reviews) and improves trust between your location and your patients.

So, What’s Next?

A strong patient experience is based on communication, beginning before a patient ever walks through your door. The process never truly ends. Emails, patient satisfaction surveys, reminder fliers, and more all contribute to a constant flow of information and communication between your practice or center and the patient.

While some unique ideas may work in some places and not others, the four above-listed items are universal. They can yield dividends when aiming to improve your current reputation, ultimately leading to an expanded patient base.

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