6 Essential Tips for Improving the Patient Experience

patient doctor

One of the most common mistakes in running a medical practice is viewing your business as essential. Yes, medical care is an essential service. However, if you don’t offer a high-quality patient experience, they’ll take their business elsewhere. 

The patient experience should encompass every touchpoint a patient has with your practice, from scheduling to interacting online. Here are six essential tips for improving the patient experience so that your patients don’t head for greener pastures.

Implement the Right Tools

Having the right tools to run your practice efficiently is a necessity. According to RevenueXL, it’s not only about having powerful tools to streamline your processes, but they must also be HIPPA-compliant and secure.

Having a centralized platform in place will simplify your practice management, making it easier to provide exceptional patient care. These tools can handle everything from scheduling to insurance claims to billing, offering online portals and telemedicine capabilities as needed. Investing in high-quality systems will increase productivity and patient satisfaction while keeping costs low. 

Invest in Your Staff

Never underestimate the value of your staff. These are the people who keep things running smoothly and act as the front line when interacting with patients. It’s integral to have the right people in place, who can handle the stress of the job. Furthermore, they deserve support opportunities, benefits, and personal and professional development opportunities in return. 

Staff retention can be challenging in the medical industry, especially in light of the global pandemic. Keep communication open and practice honesty, authenticity, and transparency during interactions with staff. Provide meaningful rewards and a supportive culture. Keep in mind that turnover and staff replacement can cost 33% of an employee’s annual salary. At that price, it’s well worth offering value to keep them around.

Know When to Outsource

In addition to implementing the right tools and staff, it’s also important to know when to outsource. When choosing what to outsource, look at where employees are spending their time. If the low-value activities and the issues can’t be automated or corrected with software implementations, it’s time to hand them over to an external contractor.

One of the best things to outsource is promotional communications – for example, social media management and email marketing. Additionally, you could work with a recruiter or HR consultant to handle hiring and employee management. IT management and tech support is another opportunity for outsourcing.

The idea behind outsourcing is to keep employees focused on their core jobs – improving the patient experience, in particular.

Connect with Customers

If your practice doesn’t already have a social media or email marketing presence, there’s no better time than now to get started. As mentioned above, this task can be outsourced to a virtual assistant or a marketing contractor, if you feel you and your team do not have the expertise to do this effectively. 

These communication methods can be used to develop a trusting rapport with new and existing clients. Use social media to send important updates about your medical practice, as well as preventative health tips. Social media posts can also be used to raise awareness about common health concerns among certain groups and provide trusted information to combat the spread of misinformation online. 

With the right tools in place, email marketing systems and social media platforms can help streamline scheduling and improve accessibility.

Be Accessible

Patients shouldn’t feel like it’s hard to get a hold of you or book an appointment. Whether it’s waiting on hold or waiting weeks for assistance, these delays detract from the patient experience.

Consider the various ways your patients prefer to communicate. You could implement a text reminder system or online scheduling portal so that they don’t have to wait on hold. Another up-and-coming way to be more accessible to your patients is to offer telemedicine services and electronic prescription renewal.

In essence, these key considerations show your patients that you value their time. When it comes to improving the patient experience, a little respect goes a long way.

Help Navigate the Patient Journey

Be an advocate for your patients and offer support and education. Figuring out insurance and billing can be overwhelming. Create an opportunity for your patients to sit with staff and get walked through everything, so they can learn and understand.

The same approach should apply to navigating their care plan, especially with the diagnosis of chronic illnesses or diseases. Help them understand the next steps and why they’re important. Open your practice to family meetings to ensure your patients have a support system in place. This care and consideration improves the customer journey, even after they leave your practice.

Use these essential tips to improve the patient experience and forge a lasting relationship with those who support your practice.