Designing a Superior Patient Experience
We live in a world of increasingly lofty consumer expectations—one where 44% of U.S. consumers will switch to a competitor following a poor customer service experience.
The medical industry is no exception to this trend.
In a study by PatientPop, 58 percent of Gen Z, Millennials, and Gen Xers, as well as 63 percent of individuals 55 and older, said that responsiveness to follow-up questions via email or phone outside of the appointment is critical or very important to overall satisfaction.
Patients want more than just excellent care from their healthcare providers. They expect easy access to medical records, convenient online scheduling and appointment reminders, prompt responsiveness, and painless ways to contact your office—24/7/365. And they’re also seeking compassionate and knowledgeable representatives who are willing to provide caring and accurate resolutions to their issues.
As a medical provider, you should not only focus on bringing in new patients but also continually strive to improve patient retention. Growth in customer retention rates by 5 percent can increase profitability anywhere from 25 to 95 percent, after all.
So how do you design an experience that increases patient satisfaction and retention? Let’s dive in.
1: Make Prompt Call Answering & Convenient Appointment Scheduling A Priority
As we mention above, patients want—and nowadays expect—your office to answer quickly as well as provide effective and swift resolutions to their health matters. But in a busy office, the staff is often focused on dealing with patients. Even front desk and administrative teams can become inundated with in-office tasks at a busy practice, leaving calls, messages, and emails unanswered.
A superior patient experience starts with prompt call answering and convenient appointment scheduling—a service that’s available to your patients whenever they need you, including weekends and holidays, and answers every call addresses delicate patient concerns with empathy, and schedules appointments quickly. If your staff is struggling to keep up with demand, consider outsourcing your phone answering and appointment scheduling. Not only will this improve patient satisfaction, but it also brings a sense of work-life balance to internal staff and allows you and your team to focus on what you do best; caring for patients.
2: Streamline and Perfect Your Patient Intake Process
The patient intake process is tedious, but it’s incredibly important to your operations, and speed and accuracy are vital. Streamlining and perfecting patient intake starts with leveraging the right software—one that makes it easy for patients to fill in their information and access their records, and provides all of the valuable data your practice needs to operate in an easy-to-navigate platform. For starters, your intake software should:
- Be encrypted for data transfer through the internet and HIPAA compliant
- Be intuitive and user-friendly
- Not require special software or hardware downloads or installation for the user
- Be portable into back-end systems
Your intake process should also be integrated with your electronic health records (EHR) software, and information should be updated and available in real-time for a smooth experience—for patients, admin staff, and providers—so that everyone is up-to-speed. Both technology and your process should remove redundancies from your workflow and streamline the intake experience.
3: Provide HIPAA-Compliant Live Chat & Text For Swift and Convenient Communication
Another great way to improve patient experience is via live chat and text, through which you and your staff can communicate with patients wherever they are, send appointment reminders, have two-way private and secure conversations, multitask as needed and be available when emergencies happen.
HIPAA-compliant chat and text messaging lets you communicate efficiently and accurately with patients and simultaneously safeguards electronically protected health information (PHI) while taking full advantage of the speed and flexibility of today’s communication technology.
Some of the many benefits of secure live chat and text in the healthcare realm include:
- Reduced response times, including in the off-hours and on weekends or holidays
- Ability to provide immediate recommendations for care and preliminary diagnoses
- Ability to send follow-ups, like reminding patients to take medications, which creates better relationships between you and your patients
- Secure PHI storage that acts as a record of past conversations, symptoms, or complaints to improve future care, diagnosis, and treatment plans
4: Leverage Technology and Software Integrations For Smarter Decision-Making
Technology and software integrations have transformed healthcare and are vital in any medical practice. Why? Because when you streamline your office functions and workflows, you improve all aspects of patient care and experience.
First, your office should be using an EHR (electronic health record) system. This system automates access to client information, helping to improve workflows and reduce incidences of errors by improving the accuracy and clarity of medical records. It should include all the key clinical data relevant to each patient’s care, including:
- Progress notes
- Vital signs
- Past medical history
- Laboratory data
- Radiology reports
Communication data collected throughout your patients’ experience with your office—such as phone conversations, appointment scheduling, and reminders, and live chat and text transcripts—should also be sent to and recorded in your EHR system.
Finally, the right software can help you make better patient and business decisions. For instance, maybe you want to know the percentage of patient calls versus the percentage of calls from hospitals that come into your office. Or, maybe you want to know which hospitals call you the most or you want to know the main reasons patients call so you can use that information to improve patient care and education.
How The Highest-Performing Medical Practices Prioritize Patient Experience
Medical practices that provide a superior service experience are available to their patients 24/7, have a streamlined and accurate intake process, are tech-forward, and have omnichannel communication options that empower patients to reach out any time and from anywhere. But most medical practices don’t do it all on their own. The highest-performing medical providers leverage an outside service provider like Nexa to improve client satisfaction, increase retention and grow their revenue. Learn more about how Nexa can help your medical practice level up by visiting nexa.com/medical.
As a medical billing expert, EZClaim can help the medical practice improve its revenues since it is a medical billing and scheduling software company. EZClaim provides a best-in-class product, with correspondingly exceptional service and support. Combined, EZClaim helps improve medical billing revenues. To learn more, visit EZClaim’s website, email them, or call them today at 877.650.0904.
[ Contribution from the marketing team at Nexa ]