In healthcare and dental practices, effective communication is crucial for ensuring patient satisfaction and fostering positive patient experiences. With modern tools such as SMS texting, online web chats, and patient surveys, it’s easier than ever for practices to improve patient engagement, gather more and better feedback, and ultimately make patients happy. In this piece, we’ll explore why patient comms are so critical for patient satisfaction, then look at a few individual tools any practice would be wise to adopt.
In general, there are 3 big reasons why patient satisfaction matters.
Patient Loyalty and Referrals - According to a study published in the Journal of Medical Practice Management, satisfied patients are more likely to remain loyal to their healthcare providers and dental practitioners. Additionally, they are more inclined to recommend their trusted providers to family and friends, which can significantly boost patient retention and generate new business through word-of-mouth referrals.
Enhanced Patient Outcomes: Research conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) revealed that improved patient communication contributes to better clinical outcomes. When patients have a clear understanding of their medical or dental conditions, treatment plans, and post-care instructions, they are more likely to adhere to recommended treatments, leading to better health outcomes.
Reduced Risk of Medical Litigation: In a study published in the Journal of Patient Safety (8(4) 191-194), it was found that inadequate communication between healthcare professionals and patients is a leading cause of medical malpractice claims. By adopting effective communication strategies, healthcare providers can minimize misunderstandings, build trust with patients, and potentially reduce the risk of legal disputes.
The Power of SMS Texting
Most of us these days are almost inseparable from our phones, which makes SMS texting a powerful way to engage with patients. Sending appointment reminders, post-treatment instructions, review or survey requests or even general health tips via SMS can keep patients informed and improve adherence to treatment plans. A study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that appointment reminders sent via SMS significantly reduced patient no-show rates by up to 40%.
Engaging Patients Through Online Web Chats
Online web chats are becoming a standard part of the modern website. Integrating a webchat into your website can be a game-changer. Online webchats allow patients to ask questions, seek clarifications, or schedule appointments conveniently. Some can even handle simple tasks using artificial intelligence. A survey by MGH Institute of Health Professions even revealed that 74% of patients preferred to communicate with healthcare providers through online chat options, citing the ease of use and quick response times. If you haven’t considered adopting a web chat tool, now is the time.
Harnessing Patient Surveys for Insights
Patient surveys, administered through both email and SMS, offer invaluable insights into the patient experience and areas for improvement. By asking targeted questions about appointment wait times, procedures, providers, or overall satisfaction, healthcare providers can identify pain points and make informed decisions to enhance patient care. Patients may be more likely to offer feedback via a survey vs. an in-person discussion, which can improve the quality of the data you receive.
Successful healthcare organizations have always relied on effective communication to provide positive outcomes. But these days, there are more ways than ever to not just engage with patients, but to gather their honest feedback as well. Practices that craft a full patient feedback program are more likely to improve the patient experience overall and will have a leg-up over competitors in their area.
If you’re interested in learning more about how Swell can help with your patient experience program, check out this page.
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