Your patient experience is extremely important when it comes down to increasing revenue growth and patient retention at your practice. In fact, 86% of patients are willing to pay more for a higher quality patient experience.
Improving your patient experience is going to be a team effort that extends both in-person and online. So how do you ensure that your enthusiasm, politeness, and the quality of your work extend throughout your practice and your team as well?
In this article, I'm going to share an 8 step checklist on how to improve your patient experience so that current and future patients will want to keep coming back to you for business.
It's easy to get carried away into perfecting your skill and delivering amazing patient results, especially when you're passionate about what you do; but what about the other interactions that patients have with your brand?
What is their patient experience like?
And how do you know if it could use some improvement on your end?
1. Offer Easy Online Appointment Scheduling
In 2021, online appointment scheduling is no longer a luxury but a priority.
Patients want the convenience of choosing their own appointments based on their schedule and availability. So, if you want to improve your patient experience consider offering easy and accessible online appointment scheduling at your practice.
Patients love the flexibility of being able to book, edit, reschedule or cancel appointments whenever they'd like without going through the practice or experiencing the inconvenience of calling every time they need to schedule an appointment.
Just take a look at these statistics from WP booking plugins:
42% of patients prefer to book appointments online.
77% of patients think that having the ability to book, cancel, or change appointments online is important.
64% of patients are seen to use self-scheduling in the coming years
Offering online appointment scheduling to enhance your patient experience is not only beneficial to your patients, but your team will love you for it as well.
This innovative feature will help streamline your operational processes making it easier for your team to schedule patient appointments; plus it provides even more efficiency allowing everyone to see the day-to-day appointments and patients expected to arrive at your practice each week.
You can also track patient access and review data that gives specific insights like which patients frequently cancel or reschedule their appointments. This type of information can help you identify which patients require phone call appointment confirmations.
2. Automate Appointment Confirmations and Reminders
In addition to having an online appointment scheduling, you should also automate your appointment confirmations and reminders which compliments your scheduling system and provides an added layer of internal efficiency for your team.
Patients missing or canceling appointments at the very last minute can be so frustrating. The good news is that you can set up automated reminders and confirmations to help reduce the frequency of this happening.
Once a patient books an appointment send them a confirmation email that includes the date, time, location of the appointment, and any additional information that they'll need to prepare for it.
Before their appointment consider sending them an appointment reminder email or text, giving them enough time to prepare for it and to arrive on time. This will ultimately help improve your patient experience and show your patients how efficient you are.
3. Make Patient Paperwork Accessible Online
Just think how much more patients you could see each day if you provided your patients with an online link to complete all required paperwork online.
This is the height of waiting room efficiency my friend.
I'm actually surprised that a lot of practices still aren't doing this.
All of their information will have to be entered digitally at some point anyway, so why not have your patients complete their intake forms remotely to increase office efficiency?
As simple as it sounds, moving this process online will save your team so much time allowing you to see more patients and even provide your patients with a more secure method of submitting sensitive information.
4. Politely Respond to Patient Queries ASAP
This means responding to social media leads, emails, website inquiries and answering phones promptly with enthusiasm, introducing yourself to patients, and being helpful and willing to answer all of their questions.
If you don't have the answer, get it, and never say no to a patient.
If patients seem restless be reassuring, if they seem worried be comforting and confident.
At the end of the patient's interaction be sure to ask them, 'is there is anything else you can do for them today.' Your job and your effort to improve your patient's experience depend on every member of your team putting your patient's needs first.
5. Share Helpful Content on your Social Media & Website
Social media is the perfect way to connect with your new and existing patients online. As people continue to turn to social media to learn more about brands and what they have to offer, it is important that you consistently show up online with valuable content.
Patients tend to reach out to practices online and chances are, if they're following your brand, they're more than likely watching the content that your share as well.
You can post videos, graphics, and blogs that provide helpful information for your audience so that they understand what you do, how knowledgeable you are about it and you can share visual proof that you can do it well. Patient testimonials, before and after progress photos, and screenshots of patient reviews are a great way to promote brand credibility on social media and your website.
Make sure that the information on your website is current. Websites don't typically have to be updated as frequently as social media profiles but you should still keep your contact info and content up to date.
6. Send Emails to Keep your Patients Engaged
Email marketing is proven to be one of the most affordable and effective online marketing strategies for brands, especially in the healthcare industry.
In fact, emails are a great way to build one-on-one relationships with current and potential patients. By creating and sending strategic emails, readers get to know, like, and trust you and your brand.
People generally buy from brands that they trust.
Each time an email is sent to your email list, awareness of your practice, products, and services is reinforced. This helps to keep your practice's name top of mind when it comes time to make a purchase.
So, if your goal is to improve your patient experience then definitely consider sending engaging emails to your audience at least once per month.
7. Send Surveys to Ask Patients for Feedback
A great way to get insight into what your patients think about your practice and get clarity on how to improve your patient experience is to send out patient surveys for feedback right after an appointment.
You can also use email to send these surveys and set them up as automations so that you're not manually sending them out each time you see a new or existing patient.
Surveys can be crafted based on the questions that you'd like to get feedback on from your patients.
Here's an example of a few questions that you can ask:
1. How did you find the experience of booking appointments?
2. Were our staff empathetic to your needs?
3. How long did you have to wait to see a provider?
4. How happy are you with your provider's treatment?
5. How satisfied are you with the results?
6. How likely are you to recommend us to your friends and family?
7. How would you rate our service? (5 being the highest rating)
8. Internally Review your Patient Reviews
Take some time to review what your patients are saying about their experience at your practice by literally reviewing their reviews online. If a patient truly has a great experience, they will want to share it with others, and the same is true for negative patient experiences.
Ask a member of your team to review these sites for feedback on patient interactions with your staff, results, quality, and their overall experience. There are numerous websites that you can list your business on to receive reviews from your patients.
So grab a pen, paper and take some notes. When you're done, share your discoveries with the team.
These 8 steps will guide you towards improving your patient experience both in-person and online; but remember that this is a team effort, so make sure that everyone who represents your brand is aware of what your goal is and takes the necessary steps required to get there.
Do you need help putting these tips into action?
Our team of content strategists, content creators, and creative marketers would love to help. Book your free virtual consultation with us at any time.