The healthcare and dental spaces will always evolve, but one thing will never change: practices must provide an exceptional experience for their patients. Patient satisfaction not only leads to better health outcomes but also contributes to a practice's reputation and success. With that in mind, let’s take a look at 10 steps you can take to perfect the patient experience.
Your practice’s culture must prioritize patient care first and foremost. Practice managers should train and empower staff to treat patients with empathy, respect, and kindness, while putting positive outcomes above all else. Among team members, it’s crucial to promote open communication and active listening.
Patients are easily frustrated by the scheduling process, and since this is often one of the first steps in a patient’s journey, it’s crucial to get it right. Luckily, there are tools that can make online scheduling or appointment requests simple for your patients. Look for solutions that make it as simple as possible for patients to request or book an appointment. Further, be sure to consider your own staff scheduling process to ensure that your team can see patients with minimal wait times.
Patients should feel heard, should understand their options and treatments, and should have transparency into everything from the details of procedures, all the way to the costs that may be involved. Care providers take on the role of a mentor when it comes to describing conditions, treatment options, and so on. Use layman's terms when possible, consider using visual aids and brochures, and provide patients with online resources where possible. Encourage patients to ask detailed questions and do your utmost to provide thoughtful and thorough answers.
Healthcare clinics don’t always have the best reputation when it comes to their physical environment, yet it plays a crucial role in how a patient feels during an appointment. A clean, comfortable, and welcoming space will help relieve the anxiety that sometimes comes with receiving care. Details matter, so pay attention to everything from the quality of your seating to the colors and decor on the walls, and even the music that might play aloud in the waiting room.
Gathering regular feedback is crucial for elevating the patient experience. Use surveys, online reviews, and in-person discussions to identify areas for improvement. Actively listen to their concerns, address issues promptly, and communicate improvements made based on their feedback.
Many practices provide their staff with ongoing training programs, but often they focus on clinical and technical expertise. Consider training your staff on interpersonal skills and patient dynamics as part of your regular training. Doing so can help emphasize the role of compassionate care at your practice. This will positively impact a patient’s one-on-one experience with staff and can help improve patient outcomes.
Top healthcare and dental practices become the best by continually improving. Your team should be looking at patient feedback and adapting based on their ever-evolving needs. This should cover every step of the patient journey, from scheduling to follow-up. Also, consider adopting key performance indicators such as a Net Promoter Score (NPS) to see how your practice is performing overall.
Remember, from the time a patient sees your practice online and reads a review, all the way to their post-procedure follow-ups, every step of the patient journey counts. Stay focused on patient outcomes and always encourage staff to provide an awesome bedside manner. Pair this with a great program for generating feedback, and you can always be improving the quality of the care you provide.
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