What patients expect from a healthcare provider has changed dramatically in recent years. More than 50% of patients say they value great customer service in a healthcare provider. Many patients have indicated a preference for increased convenience and access through email and text communications, online scheduling, social media, and more. And these aren’t just things they think are nice, they would consider switching providers to get them.
Patient engagement has become an industry buzzword and the “consumerization of healthcare” has put increasing pressure on providers. Luckily, enhancing patient engagement has benefits for your practice too. Nearly half of patients would like to have online scheduling. Every appointment scheduled online eliminates a four-minute phone call into your practice, freeing staff to focus on the patients at the front desk. Reduce phone calls even more with secure electronic communications with patients.
Saving time is great but these features can also increase revenue. Patients want text and email reminders. Using them ensures patients show up for the care they need and reduces your no-shows by up to 50%. Preventing just one no-show a day results in $25,000 in increased revenue per year.
You can improve the patient experience by providing the tools patients are looking for like online scheduling, email and text communications, a secure portal, and more. And, it doesn’t have to be at a financial loss.
Before you implement any new strategies to recruit new patients or increase appointments from existing patients, it is important to understand what patients are looking for in a provider today. Patients aren’t just looking for a physician using their health plan directory anymore. They don’t want to call and be put on hold for 30 minutes or wait three weeks for an appointment. Patients want the availability, accessibility, and efficiency they expect in all of their other consumer transactions.
Patients are looking for providers who fit the bill by searching websites, social media, and review and rating sites before they even make the first phone call. This means that you need to have a clean, professional, engaging website and an active Facebook page, and you need to manage and monitor your ratings and reviews.
Depending on what service the patient is seeking and their level of knowledge, they will look at:
- Medicare safety ratings
- Yelp listings
- Physician rating sites like www.healthgrades.com
- Your practice website
Use these sites to learn what patients think you do well and where you need to improve. You can also learn what patients are looking for in a new provider. If they want online scheduling, offer it. If the patients are asking for extended hours, consider that option.
If you still aren’t sure what your patients want, ask them. Patient surveys are a great way to gauge patient experience and satisfactions and make improvements to your practice. You might be surprised by what you learn and how that knowledge can impact your success.
For more tips to independent practice success, download 8 Ways to Keep Your Name on the Door.