As recently as a few decades ago, a healthcare practice’s success was based solely on the quality of its care. But in recent times, to maintain and gain new patients, doctors and their staff must now also provide high-quality, efficient service. In addition, a growing body of research has shown that positive patient experiences are associated with better health outcomes, lower costs, and increased patient satisfaction and loyalty.
In emergency and non-emergency situations, a patient’s positive experience helps ensure treatment follow-through and trust in their clinician. As healthcare professionals and administrators, it is critical to place the patient’s experience at the forefront of the continuum of care.
Patients who have a positive experience are more likely to stick with their care plan, take their medications as prescribed, and have better health outcomes. Also, happy patients are more likely to refer others to your practice.
Many factors contribute to a positive patient experience. Still, there are a few key areas that you can focus on to make a significant impact. Here are some of the most effective strategies:
1. Focusing on Communication
Good communication is essential to providing a positive patient experience. Healthcare providers should take the time to explain things clearly and answer any questions patients may have. They should also make an effort to listen to patients and understand their concerns. In addition, providers should keep patients updated on their care plans and make sure they know all the instructions for follow-up care. However, communication is a two-way street. Patients also need to do their part by being open and honest with their care providers.
2. Improve Skills
There is always room for improvement when it comes to clinical skills. Providers should make sure they are up-to-date on the latest evidence-based practices and procedures. They should also take the time to develop strong relationships with patients and build a rapport. In addition, providers should document all patient encounters thoroughly and legibly. There are plenty of online courses available for providers to hone their skills. An MSN FNP degree can help equip providers with the knowledge and skills to provide excellent patient care.
3. Enhance Accessibility
One way to improve patient experience is to make it easier for patients to see their care providers. It means providing convenient appointment times, same-day appointments, and extended hours. It also means having a variety of care locations, such as primary care offices, urgent care centers, and retail clinics. In addition, providers should make sure their patients can easily access their medical records and test results online. However, some patients may prefer to see their provider in person, so offering both options is essential.
4. Improve Coordination of Care
Different members of a patient’s care team need to work together and coordinate their efforts. It can be a challenge, but there are some things that healthcare organizations can do to improve care coordination. For example, they can ensure that all the providers involved in a patient’s care have access to the same medical records. They can also create care plans that clearly outline each provider’s responsibilities. In addition, healthcare organizations should provide training to staff on coordinating care effectively.
5. Use Technology
Technology can be a powerful tool for improving the patient experience. Healthcare organizations can use it to automate appointment reminders and follow-up calls. They can also provide patients with online access to their medical records and test results. In addition, some healthcare organizations are using virtual reality and other technologies to provide immersive experiences to help patients feel relaxed and comfortable during their appointments.
Technology can help make the healthcare experience more convenient and efficient for patients. For example, online appointment scheduling and electronic medical records can help save time. In addition, mobile apps can help patients track their health and contact their care providers quickly.
6. Focus on the Details
The little things can make a big difference in the patient experience. For example, making sure the waiting room is clean and comfortable or providing complimentary coffee can help put patients at ease. In addition, providers should take the time to get to know their patient’s health care attention to the details. However, providers should not forget that the most important thing is providing high-quality care.
7. Train Staff Properly
It’s crucial to ensure that all healthcare team members are highly competent. That includes everything from customer service skills to infection control procedures. Providers should also ensure their staff is up-to-date on the latest evidence-based practices. In addition, providers should create a positive work environment where staff feels appreciated and supported. However, it’s not just providers who need training. The healthcare community also needs to educate patients on how to take care of their health.
8. Solicit Feedback
One of the best ways to find out how to improve patient experience is to ask patients for their feedback simply. Healthcare organizations can use surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one interviews to gather information. The feedback can help identify areas where the organization can make changes to improve the patient experience. However, it’s essential to make sure the feedback is acted on promptly.
9. Make a Commitment
Improving patient experience is an ongoing process. It requires dedication and commitment from everyone in the organization, from the CEO to the front-line staff. Healthcare organizations should commit to continuously improving the patient experience. They should set goals and track progress to see the impact of their efforts. However, committing is not enough. Organizations also need to have the right resources in place to make improvements.
10. Be Willing to Try New Things
The healthcare landscape is constantly changing, and what works today might not work tomorrow. That’s why healthcare organizations need to be willing to try new things. They should always be looking for ways to improve the patient experience. However, they should also be prepared to change course if something isn’t working. Lastly, they should never be afraid to ask for help. Many organizations and consultants can assist with improving the patient experience.
Healthcare organizations need to improve the patient experience continuously. They should set goals and track progress to see the impact of their efforts. The most effective growth strategy is to provide a high-quality patient experience. When you provide an exceptional patient experience, you will eventually lower your business costs.
We can say that patient satisfaction boils down to striving for excellence. It requires a lot of time and effort to improve each day. However, those doctors who cultivate a patient-centred culture see a significant increase in revenue and practice size. So, follow these tips and take the first steps in making a difference in your healthcare organization and your patient’s life.