Patient consumerism has been quite the hot topic lately in the healthcare industry, particularly as it relates to the patient experience. Simply providing quality patient care is no longer enough to guarantee loyalty from your patients or a good reputation for your practice. Patients want to know that they are valued and respected by their providers, and this is demonstrated in a patient experience that honors their needs. Let’s explore what this means for the average practice with regard to the post-visit phase.
Why is it important to consider patient consumerism?
Today’s patients bear more of the responsibility for their care costs than ever before. This increase in financial responsibility is changing the way patients approach their care. Beyond simply receiving quality care, patients are also looking for a positive experience, just as they would with any other service they were paying for.
These experiences aren’t only important from an individual patient loyalty standpoint, but also in light of patient reviews. Patients are choosing providers largely based on reputation, whether through word-of-mouth from family or friends or because of what’s listed on review sites.
Essentially, from a business perspective, providing a positive experience for patients is wise as it encourages loyalty while also building a solid reputation to attract a greater patient population. From a patient care perspective, patients are more engaged with providers who strive to create a positive experience. When patients are better engaged, they’re more proactive about their health and tend to see better outcomes.
What makes a positive post-visit experience?
A positive patient experience is one that honors the patient’s time and needs, and what happens after the visit is no different. The process to schedule and attend any follow-up appointments should be as seamless as possible. The disruption to a patient’s schedule from these appointments should be minimal. Similarly, referrals should be processed in an efficient manner, taking the patient’s schedule into consideration.
A demonstrated willingness on the part of a practice to receive and act on patient feedback in pursuit of continuing to improve the patient experience will also be seen in a positive light by patients. Again, today’s patients are consumers. They’re used to their suggestions being considered and those entities providing services to them wanting to create the best experience possible. Consider requesting participation in patient surveys and make sure to implement change where possible to improve.
Support for medication adherence is another area that will improve a patient’s post-visit experience. With healthcare costs being what they are, many patients struggle to pay for their medications, leading to poor adherence. However you can support your patients in being able to afford their prescriptions is important, as is education on why adherence is so necessary.
Finally, a clear billing process with convenient payment options is a game changer. Patients want to understand exactly what their financial responsibility is and they want to be able to take care of that responsibility as easily as possible.
Post-Visit Tools to Satisfy the Consumerist Patient
There are many tools available for practices to implement in order to create a more positive post-visit experience for their patients. First, utilizing telehealth and remote patient monitoring will allow providers to see patients in the most convenient possible way for any follow-up care. Not every illness requires an in-person follow-up appointment and care provided remotely is less disruptive to the patient’s schedule.
Next is a robust referral management system. Referrals can be notoriously complicated, and when completed manually it’s easy for patients’ needs to fall through the cracks. By using a referral management system, practices can keep a thorough record of the referrals they need to process and what their status is. This will ensure nothing is missed and patients receive the care they need.
Prescription samples and discount cards help practices support their patients in maintaining medication adherence by alleviating prescription costs. Whether you’re providing some samples to get a patient started or offering a discount card that will ease the patient’s expenses at the pharmacy, it all helps to enable patients to follow their treatment plan.
Finally, implementing convenient payment options, such as mobile pay, will enable patients to quickly and easily pay their medical bills. This eases the patient’s stress while also helping the practice’s financial bottom line.
For both business and patient care reasons, creating a positive patient experience is one of the most important things you can do in your practice at this point. And it’s important to realize that just because the appointment is over, the experience isn’t. How you serve your patients during the post-visit period will also weigh heavily on their impression of your practice. This is why SolutionsHub has worked to find the best possible tech solutions that you can implement in your practice to continue delighting your patients after their visit ends. Check out the list of suggested solutions below, and talk to a Solutions Consultant today.