Best Practices to improve Patient Experience1

Best Practices to improve Patient Experience


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Healthcare providers and organizations are shifting their focus on improving the patient experience by developing strategies for patient engagement. Patient experience has become the top priority for most healthcare providers. 

Traditionally clinical outcomes have been the bar to measure the quality of care and effectiveness of capabilities of the organizations. However, with the paradigm shift in patient expectation, exceptional experience and engagement is tied with clinical outcomes to measure the quality of care. 

According to Jean-Pierre Stephen, Accenture, Patients are seeking healthcare services that will provide them the best overall experience when they need it. Hospitals are also leveraging patient experience and satisfaction to grow profit. 

Understanding patient experience and working on a strategy for its improvement requires a holistic approach to boost engagement at every crucial touchpoint on the patient journey. Seeing patients as individuals and enhancing their experience with your organization can have a positive impact on your organization as well: 

  • Boost Patient retention and loyalty
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Growth in ROI 
  • Improvement in Population Health
  • Awareness and Health Education
  • Improve Organization Reputation
Best Practices to improve Patient Experience2
Customer experience

It is a long road to convert a potential patient into a recurring visitor. However, taking appropriate steps to ensure convenience for the patient can lead to patient experience and ultimately cultivate patient retention and organization growth.

Before we dive in to discuss strategies to improve patient experience, it is equally important to identify common mistakes made by healthcare providers that lead to patient dissatisfaction. 

Mistakes that prevent exceptional Patient Experience

Poor patient engagement

Patient experience accounts for interactions outside the examination room or doctor’s chamber. Whether a patient follows the care plan given by the doctor also impacts on their experience. Often patients fail to follow the care plan which sets back their health outcome, this leads to a bad patient experience. 

Healthcare organizations can play a role by improving patient engagement. Keeping patients engaged throughout their journey can improve communication, relationship, health outcomes, and lead to a superior patient experience. 

  • 70% of patients claim that they are most likely to choose healthcare providers who will send emails or SMS to remind them about preventive care. 

By keeping patients engaged by sending relevant emails – schedule/ appointment reminders, health information, or valuable education – you can holistically improve patient experience and satisfaction. 

Lack of technological adoptions

Most industries are busy adopting tools that provide automated management tools to make customer interaction and journey hurdle-free. People are expecting the same from healthcare organizations to provide the same level of convenience. 

  • 68% of patients are more likely to opt for medical providers that enable them to schedule, cancel, or change appointments online. 
  • 59% of patients from Gen Y are likely to switch doctors for one who offers better online access. 

By utilizing the right management tools you can save time and resources while also preventing patient and employee frustration. When you begin to offer automated reminders or online registration you can focus on providing a warm and good-natured patient experience. 

Not utilizing patient feedback

Organizations that take time to listen to what their patients have to say, instantly upgrade the patient experience. By truly paying attention to their opinion you develop a connection and provide them what they expect from you. 

Being attentive and asking them questions after each appointment “Have I addressed your concerns?” or “Is there anything you want me to elaborate on?”, can show patients that you care about their thoughts and opinion. It shows them that you are listening to them and trying to provide them the experience they deserve. 

You can also deploy automated patient experience and patient satisfaction surveys to request their feedback via email or SMS. 

Now that we have established what may cause patient frustration and lead to patient attrition, let’s learn some best industry practices to improve the patient experience. 

Best Practices to Improve Patient Experience

Best Practices to improve Patient Experience3

Display relevant information on your Website

Your website is the first thing patients will look for before they decide whether to book an appointment with you or not. So, you have to make sure that you provide all the important information on your website. This will help patients get an idea of your brand and generate trust. 

Your website reflects your brand. People should be able to understand what they can expect from you. 

  • Ensure that the interface of your website categorizes important pages cleanly – About Us, Contact, Services, Knowledge Base, etc. 
  • Patients should be able to navigate and find the required information easily. 
  • Use high-quality photos to showcase your practice
  • Include patient testimonials 

It is also best to display your brand online. Update your profile with a website link, location, hours, and photos, on business and healthcare directories. 

Enable patients with online scheduling

Online scheduling allows patients to book appointments with your organization as per their convenience. Make sure the process is easy enough that anyone can follow and successfully book an appointment without needing to make calls to the support center. 

People prefer online scheduling because it is hassle-free and they can book an appointment anytime and from anywhere. Moreover, it also allows them to change or cancel their appointment easily. 

  • 60% of patients claim that they prefer digital options such as browser, text, or email, to make appointments. 
Improve Customer Retention

Proactive notifications 

Everyone has a fast paced life, patients as well, which often leads to them forgetting about their appointments with doctors or physicians. Keep them engaged with proactive notifications. Send them confirmation and reminder emails, or texts about their appointments. 

  • 57% of patients expect their providers to send them automated reminders (text/ emails) to inform them to schedule appointments or take medicine. 
  • 66% of patients expect to receive reminders for their upcoming appointments via SMS. 

Use a platform that allows you to send automated emails or texts to send appointment confirmation to the patients. Also, send them reminders by email before their scheduled appointment and ask them to confirm. In case a patient does not confirm, follow up with another email. 

This also shows the patient that you care for them and value their time. Leveraging automated reminders also helps you reduce the cost of no-shows, thus saving your resources. 

Enable digital registration on your website

Patients and their families make time out of their busy day to visit a hospital. Making them wait and asking them to fill registration or other forms will make them frustrated. 

Make such paperwork available on your website so that patients can fill out these forms whenever it is convenient for them. This will also reduce the waiting time and help promote overall satisfaction. Patients and medical staff can avoid the rush and also prevent patients from being dissatisfied. 

Train medical staff to provide warm and friendly service 

Patient visit is one crucial moment when you can impact their experience positively. A warm welcome and polite yet friendly approach will make patients feel comfortable about their visit. Simple hello with a warm smile is all it takes to start the visit properly. 

The staff should be prepared with basic information about the patients and should help them throughout the process. They should make patients feel that the healthcare providers value their time. 

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Reduce the wait time

Wait time is understandable but the excessive wait time is a red flag in the patient experience. Patients feel that the healthcare providers don’t respect them or their schedule. 

  • 30% of patients say that long wait time is the reason why they have walked out of appointments. 

It is better to inform patients how long they would have to wait. Keeping transparency and communicating with them can help generate trust and build a positive patient-provider relationship. 

  • 53.2% of patients share that being aware of the length of their appointment would change their attitude about it. 

Follow-up with survey

After every appointment sends your patients an automated email to collect patient feedback. You can send Patient Satisfaction or Patient Experience to gather their insight about their journey. 

Patients are more likely to respond to the survey if you send it to them right after the appointment. The experience is still fresh in their mind; they will share their honest opinion. Be it negative or positive feedback, understanding a patient’s insight can help you improve the quality of care you provide. 

Survey feedback can show where you lack and how you can improve the effectiveness of the care. Patients may also be willing to share their own opinions on what they would like from healthcare providers. 

Respond to Patient Feedback

Timely response to patient’s feedback can show them that you are listening to them and you care about what they have to say. 

Respond to the negative feedback by informing them what steps you are planning to take to resolve the issue. However, also respond to positive feedback by thanking them for their feedback. Acknowledge the patient and encourage them to communicate more. 

Educate patients with blogs and social media content

Share informational content related to health on your website, blog, or social media to educate patients. Educated patients are more engaged in their care plan. This also helps improve patient experience and satisfaction. 

Figure out what your patients want to know. Communicate with them and understand what information will help them to improve their health. Addressing the questions and issues they have about their health and spreading awareness can engage more patients and improve retention. 

Share stories or articles original to your own organization to make it personal. Use online platforms to share the content so that it reaches a wide audience. 

Continue communication 

Email is one way to continue to communicate with your patients even after they leave the premises. Use emails to share health-related information, reminders of appointments, promotional offers, notifications for new services, etc. 

There are plenty of ways you can create an exceptional patient experience. Figure out what your patients expect from you and develop your strategies based on those. Increasing patient satisfaction can boost retention which can ultimately lead to growth of the organization.

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