It’s been said that happiness is connected to one’s circumstances. To translate this sentiment to your business, it’s better to say that improving patient satisfaction is connected to the overall clinic experience!
While you might not want to take full responsibility for the happiness (or unhappiness) of your patients, assuring they have the best possible experience will lead to consistent patient satisfaction.
PATIENT SATISFACTION VS PATIENT ACQUISITION
Juggling patient satisfaction with new patient acquisition can seem in conflict with each other. It takes strategic effort to do both.
Don’t worry though, it is possible to win ongoing approval of your current patient base while attracting a stream of new patients! Energy expended towards improving patient satisfaction will benefit both practice demographics.
Plus, strong patient retention efforts have a collateral impact on the experience you create for incoming, new patients.
4 STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE PATIENT SATISFACTION
1. Use Surveys to Understand Your Patient’s Satisfaction
You never know until you ask, right? It’s difficult to know how you’re doing if you don’t consistently measure yourself.
What’s measured gets improved! A good standard of measurement is the valuable feedback your patients provide.
Your patient base likely represents a broad cross-section of personality types, career types, lifestyles, interests, socio-economic status, and more. Even if you are niche focused, such as a specific demographic like pediatrics or specialty services, you will have a variety of personalities, demographics, etc. to consider.
That said, you will want to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach to the patient experience. Taking a balanced approach to patient care will produce the highest level of patient satisfaction.
Surveys are a reliable tool for getting inside the minds of your patients.
- Start with a no-holds-barred mindset. Give patients permission to tell the truth. Remember the truth – while sometimes hard to hear – can produce needed improvements.
- Ask them for direct and specific feedback. What do they think could be improved or why are they unsatisfied? Equally, tap into what they’re satisfied with and why.
- Use available technology to extract the best patient feedback. Reputation management software and free online survey tools can help you create and deploy routine surveys that will harvest vital improvement data.
2. Increase Online Tools and Amenities for Your Patients
Your patients (perhaps like you and your team) live online. That’s not likely to change – in fact the online space will continue to evolve as a connection point.
The more digital real estate you can occupy for patient engagement, the better.
- Automate your patient-facing workflows (e.g. online scheduling, payment and billing portals, etc)
- Track patient behavior and monitor their treatment journey
Practice management software platforms are more online capable now. Cloud-based systems are improving patient satisfaction as you’re able to maintain secure, anytime-anywhere access to patient data.
Remember that your upgrades translate to better patient engagement. The more engaged you are with your patients the greater their satisfaction.
3. Embrace the Patient Experience
The patient experience will ultimately be the point of evaluation for patient satisfaction. The services you provide must be on par with how you deliver them.
Attracting new patients and retaining your current ones is tied to patient satisfaction. You’ll improve as you strategically think about the broader patient experience and make adjustments along the way.
- Be “why” focused. Ask yourself/your team “why” a specific patient schedules with you in the first place.
- Compartmentalize their patient journey. Recognize their reason for treatment, their recare (hygiene) appointments, and their case acceptance rates.
4. Reimagine Your Decor and Atmosphere Through the Eyes of Your Patient
Your office is essentially your second home, meaning you spend the most time in your clinic with your team.
Familiarity can lower sensitivity to the first (or 1000th) impression you’re making on patients. You might feel that your reception area is comfortable, relaxing, and trendy but your patients might feel otherwise.
- Inventory your furniture and amenities. How long has it been since you replaced or upgraded your surroundings?
- Does your reception and front-desk areas feel inviting and put patients/families at-ease ahead of their appointment?
- Consider an upgrade to your theming. A themed environment (especially for pediatric offices) makes an immediate connection with your patient base.
Satisfaction requires intentional effort. You’ll improve patient satisfaction and generate a stand-out patient experience when you prioritize the various aspects associated with the previous four initiatives.
Check out these related resources on the strategies that lead to improving patient satisfaction and an outstanding patient experience:
Contact Imagination Design Studios (IDS) to get started transforming your office from a mundane to magical patient experience.