Improving the Patient Experience
7 tips to enhance touchpoints with your patients and keep them returning to your practice
As a healthcare provider, your patient’s experience is the bread and butter of your business. The onus is on you and your practice team to ensure that every you're continually improving the patient experience when possible.
Every touchpoint of the patient journey —from when they find you online to when they leave their first appointment - should result in the patient wanting to return to your practice for continuity of care.
Here are seven tips for improving the patient experience.
1. Create a Great Online First Impression
Most people will first see your practice online, be it by Google My Business or your website. Your website serves as your virtual headquarters. In some cases, they will be searching for a doctor, or they may be searching for medical information or advice. Either way, it is their first impression of your practice.
If they like what they see and find what they’re looking for, they’ll be back. You may even have a new patient. If they don’t feel welcomed by your website, they may not make a return visit. So make sure you have a high-quality website that offers clear, consistent information on all of your pages.
The patient feel of the site when they’re browsing through should give them a sense of who you are before they arrive at your physical location.
2. Simplify Scheduling with Flexibility and Automation
Your patients need options when it comes to scheduling their appointments. Having to go through available times over the phone can be tedious. Sometimes, patients may need to compare schedules and consider everything going on in their busy lives before confirming an appointment.
Online booking offers patients the convenience and freedom to schedule their appointment based on their commitments. Many patients prefer digital options for scheduling, whether it be by web browser or app.
In addition, they can receive an automated confirmation and a reminder prior to and on the day of the appointment. Automated reminders come with links to confirm, cancel, or reschedule. Having these options available to patients reduces same-day cancellations and no-shows by up to 50%. Simplifying your patients’ lives is a guaranteed method for improving the patient experience. Additionally your reception team can be more efficient and provide better face-to-face service if they're not needed on the phone as often.
3. Digitise the Paperwork
There’s nothing exciting about completing a boatload of paperwork. It’s tedious and time-consuming. Make new patient forms available on your website.
The majority of patients prefer a digital method for filling out registration and other forms. A link to the forms can be provided by email or text prior to their visit. This saves patients from having to take additional time from their schedule to get to their appointment just to do paperwork. It’s also a better waiting room experience because the paperwork is already done.
4. Give Out Freebies
Even though an online presence helps encourage people to visit your business, it’s how they feel once they've become a patient that keeps them coming back. Most customers likes freebies, and items like pens, stress balls, magnets or water bottles with your business logo, name, and contact info on it, will not only be a special gift to them. It will benefit you because they will have your contact information close by at all times. These little extra efforts could get you some new patient referrals.
5. Prep Patients for Their Visit
Ensure your patients receive everything they need to know before their visit. Remind patients of any important documents or other information they need to bring to the visit, like a list of medications they are currently using.
Let patients know if parking is onsite. If it’s not, make them aware of parking and transport options. That is especially helpful to first-time patients who may not even be familiar with the area.
6. Show Empathy
As a healthcare provider, you know bad health or chronic conditions aggravate the ‘everyday’ issues people are already dealing with. That’s why it’s important to show empathy whenever you’re talking with patients, whether it’s on the phone or face to face. A patient’s perception of your practice is often influenced by how you communicate. Here are some helpful tips to strengthen patient communication:
- Let them know you understand. Patients may have alot on their plate and sometimes they just need somebody to understand their situation.
- Give them options. No one likes being dictated to, so offer your patient options. Keep them in the loop. When it’s the patient’s quality of life at stake, they should always feel in control and empowered when it comes to their health care.
- Be on their team. As a healthcare professional the patient should always feel that you’re their biggest health advocate. So much of what your team does plays a huge role in improving the patient experience. Patients should know your team are working with them to solve their problem.
- Stay positive. Regardless of how negative or difficult the patient may be, do everything in your power to stay positive. It is a major factor when it comes to patient satisfaction.
7. Stay Connected
The patient experience shouldn’t end once they leave your practice. One way to influence patient loyalty even more, is by staying connected to them and email is a good way to stay connected with your patients. You can do this by providing regular newsletters. Email is still a major form of communication for most people, and they check it at least once a day. Use emails to alert patients to new services and provide healthcare tips.
Continue to show your authority in the field through content. Regular blogs or articles are a great way to provide valuable healthcare information, stay on top of news within the realm of healthcare and increase patient satisfaction. You can also send patient satisfaction surveys after their visit.
Consider the information that your patients would want to know. Expand on the treatments for certain health outcomes and the services you offer. What are the most commonly asked questions? You can develop blog content around all of this and more and include links to the blogs through email.
Taking the necessary steps to ensure your patients have a great experience keeps them coming back. Retention leads to referrals, which leads to more patients. In the end, your practice is growing, which means revenue is also growing.
Great patient experiences means more revenue and the continued success of your business.
Download the Marketing Guide for Healthcare Practice
The secret to attracting new patients, increasing retention of existing patients and enjoying a steady flow of appointments comes down to a mix of online and offline marketing