No one really likes going to the doctor. Whether it’s for a dental cleaning or an annual physical, most people try to avoid these services as much as they can. There’s nothing fun about sitting in waiting rooms and potentially getting some unwelcome bad news about your health.
But, at the end of the day, medicine is a necessary part of life. Doctors are only trying to do their best to keep us healthy and well, no matter a patient’s situation.
Thankfully, if you run a medical practice, there are things you can do to take your efforts even further. Go beyond check-ups and routine procedures and start putting a bigger focus on patient satisfaction. A few minor improvements and simple changes can make a huge difference.
Here are ten easy ways you can improve patient satisfaction in healthcare within your own office.
1. Give Everyone a Warm Welcome
Patients need to feel welcome and at ease from the moment they walk in until they leave your office. As such, make sure your receptionists and front-of-house team are giving everyone a warm welcome.
Sure, this may be easy to do when the office isn’t very busy or no one’s on the phone. But, your team needs to know how to handle a line of people waiting to check in, check out, and make payments and appointments. It’s easy for the front to get this busy, and you need to remind your team to have plenty of patience and compassion.
2. Address Patients by Their Name
Once the patients make it back to see you, it’s your turn to take their satisfaction rates up a notch. One simple way you can do this is by using their name.
People want to feel like you have a genuine care for them, not like they’re just another person coming in to see you. Using their name does that. It’s an often overlooked detail, but one that really does make all the difference.
3. Manage the Phones Carefully
In addition to all the patients coming in to see you, there are plenty who are calling in to check on test results, payments, or upcoming visits. They deserve good customer service, too.
It’s best to split your front-of-house team between phones and in-person lines if you can. If you can’t, at least make sure they’re managing everything with proper care. Don’t allow for blind transfers on the phone and try to keep hold times down to a minimum.
4. Make the Forms Process Easier
Another thing patients don’t like is having to fill out tons of forms in the waiting room or trying to take on things they don’t understand.
Make the process easier for everyone involved by providing basic forms online. You can ask patients to print and fill out new patient forms and HIPAA compliance forms digitally so that there’s nothing to do when they come in.
If you notice you’ve been getting the same questions about certain forms or procedures, create a FAQs page on your website if you haven’t done so already. This addresses patient concerns before they even think of them.
5. Never Interrupt a Patient
FAQs get the basics out of the way, but they don’t cover everything. Patients are still going to come to you with specific questions about their situation.
They may have something they’ve been thinking about before they see you or a question about what to do next. Either way, never interrupt a patient. It does no good for you or for them.
Instead, wait for them to finish their thought even if you think it’s something that’s already been covered. Often, a simple situation for you is not as easy for a patient to wrap their head around.
They’re worried about their health, and they want you to show compassion for that. This applies to all kinds of situations – including tooth pulls, injury recovery, x-rays and pathology readings. You can click to learn more about the latter and how to better relate this information to your patients.
6. Always Provide Next Steps
Even if a patient has no questions, always provide them with next steps, just in case. Do this for those who you need to make an appointment with and those who you don’t expect to see for a while, too.
Providing next steps ensures you’re giving everyone the attention they deserve. It covers all the bases and puts you and your patients on the same page, which is a great place to start off from when their next visit rolls around.
7. Continue the Conversation Via Marketing
Here’s something to consider: providing better patient support via marketing. It’s worth investing in good marketing for your medical practice. This helps you address patient needs, answer questions, and provide important information on a large scale.
It shows patients you care even when they don’t need to come see you yet. Marketing keeps you relevant and maintains the good image of your brand that you’ve worked so hard to build, which in turn sets you up for high satisfaction ratings when a patient does come in.
8. Simplify the Scheduling Process
Another online effort you can do to provide higher satisfaction for your real-life patients is to simplify the scheduling process. Start sending reminder emails if you don’t do so already and make it possible for patients to request an appointment online.
Many people prefer this to waiting on hold over the phone. Plus, emails are a great point of reference for them to double check everything from the time of their appointment to the address they need to be headed to.
9. Ask Patients for Their Feedback
How can you know just how much your patients are satisfied? By asking them! Feedback is essential to everything you do.
Ask patients for feedback in-person and online. Use their comments to find areas of opportunity in your medical practice and fill in the gaps. The more you do this, the better all aspects of your service will be.
10. Encourage and Motivate Your Team
Last but not least, remember that you can’t improve patient satisfaction alone. You need a team of professional, caring, and dedicated medical personnel to help you help each patient.
Encourage your team and motivate them. Remind them that the work they do is important and offer team building events for everyone to relax and come together. You’d be surprised what a little bit of training can do to support all your patients.
Improve Patient Satisfaction in Healthcare from the Ground Up
You can’t change patient satisfaction overnight, but you can start improving it today. Use the tips above to help you improve patient satisfaction in healthcare as it applies to you. From the first time a patient contacts you until their treatment is complete, they need to feel cared for.
If you need help bringing more patients in the door in the first place, check out these marketing and promotions tips.