Patient experience has become a bit of a buzz phrase as of late. It’s clear this is something to be prioritized, but the phrase itself can seem rather vague. What is the patient experience? Why is it important? What can you do to improve this important metric? Read on for more information.
What is patient experience?
Patient experience is made up of all the interactions a patient has with the healthcare industry, from insurance providers to private practices, hospitals, and other health systems. Facets of the healthcare system that patients place a high emphasis on, such as good communication, transparency, and convenient appointment scheduling, are all included in the patient experience. The interactions a patient has influence their perception of care across the continuum. It will also have an impact on value-based care and patient satisfaction ratings.
How can patient experience affect revenue?
Today’s patients are consumers. This means that they expect not only outstanding care, but also a high level of customer service. Patient satisfaction leads to patient loyalty. Seeing as patients spend, on average, more than $10,000 per year on healthcare, this loyalty has a big impact on revenue.
Additionally, a patient who has had a positive experience will share that information with other potential patients. Word of mouth can be the strongest form of marketing a practice can leverage. This is another opportunity to increase revenue, creating a better financial situation for your business.
Finally, prioritizing patient experience can improve employee satisfaction and retention as well. Given the high cost of employee turnover, this can have a positive impact on revenue as well. When staff sees that patient experiences are being prioritized, they feel a greater sense of meaning with their job. This leads to employees who are more dedicated and less likely to quit. As an extra bonus, those more dedicated employees are likely to improve the patient experience even more, creating a very beneficial cycle.
What should you do?
It sounds simplistic, but you need to prioritize improving the patient experience.
- Look at your practice’s workflow and take steps to maximize efficiency to reduce patient wait times.
- Focus on empathy when communicating with patients and their families.
- Providers should take their time with each patient, demonstrating focus and a lack of rushing, to provide the highest quality of care.
- Avoid interrupting the patient and listen intently.
- Be sure the patient understands their treatment plan.
- Communicate expected timelines and overestimate. It’s always better to under-promise and over-deliver.
- Perhaps most important, make sure the patient is comfortable.
- Employ tech solutions that increase patient convenience, such as online scheduling, appointment reminders, digital patient intake, telehealth, and mobile payments.
As an added bonus, the very same tech solutions that increase patient convenience help to decrease burnout, easing administrative burdens and allowing your staff to focus on providing outstanding care.
Maintaining a healthy bottom line is imperative to your business’s survival. Improving patient experience is one relatively simple way to accomplish this. At Henry Schein SolutionsHub, we know healthcare and we understand what patients want and what practices need.