If you have to choose between two healthcare providers:
The first one provides effective medical care but it is hard to get an appointment, you have to wait too long before seeing the provider, and the staff isn’t so helpful.
The second one provides effective and reliable medical care, you can get treatment-related explanations, the staff is friendly and helpful, both appointment-booking and consultation are effortless, and the infrastructure is spacious and clean.
Which one would you choose?
If we’re right, you would go with the second option because of the overall patient experience in addition to effective care. In fact, 70% of patients in America would pay more for patient experience they have in mind, as per NIH.
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Patient experience is the cornerstone of patient satisfaction. But how to ensure remarkable patient experiences. We have discussed the primary ways in detail below.
Ways to Improve Patient Experience
- Making appointments available over the phone or online.
- Using patient satisfaction surveys to gather feedback and identify areas for improvement.
- Providing clear and concise information about treatment options and procedures.
- Listening to and addressing patients' concerns and questions.
- Treating patients with kindness, empathy, and respect.
- Offering patients a clean and comfortable environment to receive care.
- Involving patients in decisions about their own care.
- Providing timely follow-up and communication after treatment.
Now let's discuss each with more context.
1. Making appointments available over the phone or online.
Your patients shouldn’t have to come down to your healthcare facility just to book an appointment. So, if you don’t already have online appointment booking or phone appointments available, then make sure to fix this.
Setting up a consultation is the first interaction patients have with your medical facility. So, make sure to deliver a flawless patient experience right from the get-go. If you are setting up an online channel for patients for consultation appointments, make sure it is easy to use. The idea is to make healthcare easily accessible for your patients.
2. Using patient satisfaction surveys to gather feedback and identify areas for improvement.
A patient feedback system can abundantly help healthcare providers in understanding what is working well and what areas need improvement in order to better meet the needs and expectations of their patients. Feedback can help identify areas for improvement in the overall healthcare experience, for example, the availability of on-premises pharmacy or staff’s behavior and helpfulness. Healthcare providers can use feedback to learn from patients’ experiences and continuously improve their practices.
You can use different types of patient satisfaction surveys, for example, healthcare expert feedback, inpatient feedback, facility and infrastructure feedback, cafeteria feedback, etc. This enables healthcare providers to learn how patients perceive different aspects of healthcare and how they can be improved.
Use can also use patient surveys to accurately measure patient satisfaction. You can also read our separate article on How to Calculate Patient Satisfaction Score.
3. Providing clear and concise information about treatment options and procedures.
When patients have a clear understanding of their treatment options, they are able to make informed decisions about their care. Providing clear, concise information about treatment options can help facilitate shared decision-making between patients and their healthcare providers. Patients can voice their preferences and concerns, and providers can take these into account when developing a treatment plan.
Patient engagement and patient experience go hand in hand since keeping patients in the loop enables better communication and trust between patients and their healthcare providers. Moreover, when patients have a clear understanding of their treatment options, they are more likely to be satisfied with their care. This can lead to better outcomes and a more positive patient experience.
4. Listening to and addressing patients' concerns and questions.
Listening to patients shows that the provider values their perspective and is committed to addressing their needs and concerns. When patients feel that their concerns and questions are being addressed, they are more likely to trust the healthcare provider for their knowledge and expertise. The trust this establishes also has a positive impact on medical outcomes since an engaged patient may adhere to medical recommendations diligently according to a 2009 medical review.
5. Treating patients with kindness, empathy, and respect.
Empathy is paramount in healthcare; it shows that the provider values the patient as a person and is committed to their well-being. When patients feel that they are being treated with kindness, empathy, and respect, it leads to better collaboration and a more positive healthcare experience for the patient. Moreover, treating patients like family would make them feel valued and make your facility stand out.
6. Offering patients a clean and comfortable environment to receive care.
A clean and comfortable hospital environment can promote healing and recovery by creating a more relaxed and stress-free atmosphere. It also creates a positive image for the hospital, which can enhance its reputation and attract more patients.
From wards to washrooms to cafeteria, every nook and cranny of your medical facility must be clean so patients do not think twice before choosing you again.
7. Involving patients in decisions about their own care.
Involving patients in decisions about their own care promotes patient autonomy and allows patients to have a say in their own healthcare. This can help patients feel more in control of their health and build trust and transparency between patients and their healthcare providers.
Also, patients involved in the decisions about their own health may be more compliant to the treatment since they understand it better. Moreover, it empowers patients to voice their preferences and concerns that providers can take into account when developing a treatment plan.
8. Providing timely follow-up and communication after treatment.
Follow-up and communication after treatment allow healthcare providers to monitor patient progress and identify any problems or issues that may arise. This can help ensure that patients receive the necessary support and care to recover fully.
It can also help reduce the risk of re-hospitalization by identifying any challenges during the recovery process. Moreover, with post-treatment support, patients can make any necessary lifestyle changes, which again goes on to show that you are committed to your patients’ care.
More Tips to Improve Patient Experience
In addition to the ways we discussed above to improve patient experience, you can:
- Minimize the waiting time to see a specialist.
- Offer payment and insurance-related assistance proactively.
- Give patients access to medical records and treatment plans at all times.
- Offer patients additional recovery and lifestyle-related content that can help enhance overall care.
Improving patient experiences means improving patient satisfaction. And satisfied patients are more likely to recommend great healthcare providers to others. So, the key to healthcare success is in remarkable patient experiences.
Treat your patients like they value and you will be able to achieve unparalleled healthcare success.