Manage a Healthcare Business? Why Patient Experience Should Always Be Your First Priority
Happy patients boost your reputation and your bottom line.
Successful medical business owners and entrepreneurs may offer their professional services in a wide variety of specialties, but they all have at least one thing in common: a commitment to providing a superior patient experience, bar none. Making patient satisfaction a top priority in their practice is what many leading medical business owners and entrepreneurs describe as a true win-win situation and an essential ingredient in the secret sauce that took their medical clinics and practices from good to great. Following are four reasons why experienced healthcare professionals put enhancing the client experience at the top of the list of key performance indicators and directly linked to their organization's financial success:
1. Satisfied patients are informed patients
Regardless of whether patients are coming in for a facelift, a knee replacement, laser resurfacing, a rotator cuff repair, or other procedure or treatment, they will go home with only your instructions for care — so make sure they know you consider them a vital part of the care team.
Spend time thoroughly educating patients and/or caregivers about after-care instructions and pain control, because how well these directions are followed can have a real effect on the end result and the patient's comfort level. Failure to observe instructions could even cause additional injury or infection to the treated area. Take the time to verbally explain the necessary care, demonstrate several times where it's helpful, answer questions, and also provide instructions in written form and/or a link to video instructions if there are multiple, complicated steps. Not rushing through this information or delegating it to support staff is another way of showing you care about your patient's health and comfort.
2. Satisfied patients are safer patients
Let patients know you'll be asking them for their observations on all aspects of the healing process at the next visit, and urge them to immediately report any complications in the interim. This approach helps patients understand they are your ally in managing their care and gives them a greater feeling of control and awareness — making it more likely they will observe all the prescribed after-care processes, including wound care, proper use of painkillers, other medication and infection control procedures.
After a procedure, consider giving patients your contact information so they can text or call when they have questions or concerns. (Alternatively, a contact number available after hours is far superior to a number that goes straight to voicemail or an email address connected to an outgoing-only mailbox.) Offering access to you is particularly impressive, because most people respect and recognize the value of your personal time and realize this is highly unusual. Thus, you likely won't get many texts or calls at odd hours, yet you will gain a great deal of patient satisfaction and confidence by demonstrating the degree to which you are truly invested in your patients' wellbeing. And if you do get a text or call — you may find your earlier intervention could prevent a minor issue from becoming a major problem. In the process of going above and beyond to enhance the patient's experience, both the actual and perceived quality and safety of your operation increase significantly.
3. Satisfied patients value streamlined service
Your devotion to offering patients your utmost in skill and personalized attention can spread to the rest of the office staff. Lead by example, and you will inspire your entire team to follow suit. An office culture where excellence is the daily norm fosters efficiency and quality and a safe, joyful environment where turnover and absenteeism are minimal. A commitment to compliance with best practices can help reduce the opportunity for mistakes.
Great technology is an extension of your great service, so keep patients happy with the tools they're increasingly coming to expect. Online secure portals allow busy patients to do everything quickly and easily 24/7 — from scheduling and confirming virtual or in-person appointments to messaging their doctor, paying bills, viewing lab results and chart history, requesting forms and immunization records, and more. Still, don't forget fundamentals like prompt inbound phone call pickups and callbacks, two points of service that patients increasingly find lacking.
4. Satisfied patients share their story
Satisfied patients reduce the likelihood of lawsuits when they feel cared for and when their realistic expectations have been both described and understood. Patients are then less motivated to sue you or file malpractice claims. Patients who emerge from their procedures with the anticipated positive outcome amid the unflagging support of you and your team are a walking, talking advertisement. They'll take to social media to share their experience with family and friends and will often leave testimonials about the unique quality of your high-tech yet high-touch services on your website and/or a third-party review site. Such reviews can spread like wildfire, resulting in the best kind of referrals — personal ones. When this phenomenon occurs (which is increasingly likely given the interconnection between clients' networks based on who they "follow" and "like"), the exposure for your professional services can become truly exponential.
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