We all know patient experience (PX) is crucial. When a great PX leads to happier patients, more loyalty, and better outcomes, it’s obvious why practices invest so much in it. The trouble is, so many practices focus on outcomes and the clinic side, that they forget some of the nuances that are crucial for an overall great PX. In truth, there’s a lot to manage, and it’s natural for them to have challenges. In this piece, we’ll look at the top 5, and what you can do about them.
When patients feel left out of the loop about their own care, it's a problem. They want detailed information and a say in what's happening. Providers often lean on what’s worked historically and offer guidance, but they don’t always offer patients the full picture of options they have.
Solution: Docs and providers can help out by giving patients details on their condition and treatment options. Providers should encourage questions and suggestions, help patients understand their medical condition, and involve them in decision-making. Patients should feel empowered to collaborate, should understand the upside and downsides of various treatment options, be given relevant resources, and should be armed with the info they need to participate in the process.
Sometimes getting care can be a real headache, especially for folks in remote or underserved areas. Money and insurance issues can also throw a wrench in things. If something simple like scheduling is hampered by lack of modern software tools, things get even worse.
Solution: Healthcare providers can step up by extending their hours, offering virtual visits, teaming up with community groups to help those in need, and providing financial help when it's needed. Further, healthcare providers should be looking at the latest software tools that can give patients virtual access to care, online web chats for convenient inquiries, or even text-message based communications, which are all convenient for your patients.
Long waits can turn patients off of your practice and might even keep patients from seeking care altogether. Finding time to visit a doctor during the day is already an inconvenience, adding a lengthy wait only makes it worse.
Solution: Practices should take a close look at their processes and consider how they can be more efficient with time, which can help them avoid adding to wait times. Further, practices should use tools that streamline scheduling, check-ins, and patient communications before and after visits. Any improvement to efficiency in communications can help shorten wait times.
It’s simply not enough to ask for reviews following appointments or to ask patients in person about their care experience. Many practices struggle to get candid feedback because they lack a process for doing so. Plus, asking questions face to face won’t give practices the candid feedback they seek.
Solution: Solutions like Swell make it easy to create a robust patient experience feedback program. Practices can create templated surveys they can send out automatically following a patient’s visit. Since these surveys go out automatically over text message, they’re super easy for patients to complete, meaning practices can get lots of feedback. When it’s time to review feedback, it’s easy to view detailed reports and individual responses.
The patient experience comprises everything a practice does. And outside of some of the obvious challenges like wait times, practices may not know where their biggest issues are unless they ask their patients. That’s why it’s critical for practices of all sizes to begin sending patient satisfaction surveys to keep a pulse on everything. With feedback rolling in, it becomes obvious what’s working and what needs improvement.
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