How to Ensure Patient Satisfaction in a Changing Healthcare Environment
The healthcare industry has experienced rapid changes in recent years, and along with it a portion of government plan reimbursements as well as some private plan reimbursements are now tied to how well your practice scores on assessments of patient satisfaction.
For any healthcare professional attempting to gain crucial access to continued funding and boost patient morale, this article is for you.
Reverse Negative Patient Reviews
What do patients dislike most about their experience in a healthcare environment? According to a recent survey conducted by a marketing and PR firm focused on specialty medical practices*, Vanguard Communications identified some of the most common patient complaints about physician offices:
- Poor Waiting Room Experience
- Disengaged or Bad Customer Service
- Poor Communication With Staff
Patients also noted that “positive bedside manner” was one of the most popular compliments they used when leaving a positive review. Based on this information, how is your practice best suited to turn negative reviews around and encourage positive patient feedback?
The very first thing you can do to improve patient satisfaction is to take off your lab coat and walk the floors as if you were a patient for the very first time.
Make Wait Times Less Stressful
For any patient who is anxious about seeing their physician, particularly pediatric patients, the last thing they want to do is sit in a waiting area and think about what will happen next. Is your waiting room causing patients to focus on the wrong ideas?
With a little TLC you can transform a cold, sterile or boring waiting room into a fun and lighthearted atmosphere that helps wait times seem to move a little faster. Why not spruce up white walls with interactive AR wall clings that give patients a way to engage and play that won’t increase your spend on disinfecting at the end of the day!
Or inspire positive play and relieve anxiety by providing waiting room giveaway fidget toys such as Fidget Spinners, Stretchy Tongue Tuggers or Watermelon Stress Balls that patients of all ages can enjoy?
Showing your patients that the little things matter has a dramatic effect on how they will perceive the rest of their experience while they are in your care. For patients who come into the office feeling anxious or distressed, having a positive and interactive environment invites them to leave their worries at the door and look forward to the caring faces of your staff.
Give Them Undivided Attention
When is the last time you went to the grocery store and the cashier didn’t greet you with a smile and polite conversation? Did that feeling make you want to return to that store? Probably not. The smallest positive or negative interactions can leave the greatest impact on how we feel about customer service. The same is true from your practice. Your patients want to feel appreciated and like they matter to you.
Give patients your undivided attention when they are in the exam room. The trust and confidence you build with each patient when you give them the attention they need is a powerful opportunity to create a lasting impression.
Provide A Winning Feeling Before They Leave
Measuring patient satisfaction doesn’t end in the exam room. If patients are rushed out the door after their appointment without so much as a smile, reminder of their next appointment or when to check in with you again, you may want to consider how you’re shaping their experience.
Every patient deserves to feel rewarded at the end of their visit. Appointment cards, custom imprinted giveaways and prizes for pediatric patients are an excellent way to say thank you to patients who have stepped out of their comfort zones and busy schedules to focus on their health.
Boost their sense of accomplishment with a keepsake reward that can encourage healthy habits and return visits. Your goal is to see your patients smile from the moment they walk in until they schedule to see you next time.
Satisfaction In Every Smile
On your way towards getting the most funding through increasing patient satisfaction, SmileMakers provides you with affordable tools to grow your practice and increase patient retention. With a range of exciting and interactive products geared to make your whole office smile, visit SmileMakers.com today to get started.
"Patients' Top Complaint? It Isn't Doctors Or Nurses, Study Finds". Advisory.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 16 May 2017.