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How Medical Practices Can Improve the Patient Experience

How Medical Practices Can Improve the Patient Experience

While medical practices are a business, they tend to fall short in a few key areas where non-medical businesses learn to thrive: namely, the patient experience. While non-medical businesses focus on cultivating customer relationships and enhancing the customer experience, many medical practice owners focus solely on patient care without addressing the other moving parts.

The patient experience isn't relegated to the 10-20 minute appointment; it happens during scheduling, waiting, aftercare, and the time between visits. Here are some applicable strategies for medical practices to improve the patient experience, boost retention and attract new patients.

Build an Online Presence

Many medical practitioners overlook the importance of having an online presence. This fallacy stems from the idea that healthcare is necessary, so marketing isn't. Similarly, many practitioners have a full caseload— so why would marketing collateral be needed?

Investing in Medical Website Design and a digital marketing strategy is essential for elevating the patient experience. These elements not only help attract new patients but also build patient trust and loyalty. They create a platform to encourage patients to come in for wellness checks, not to forget about their flu shot, or practice self-screening as they age.

Having an established website is also a foundation for offering enhanced access to medical literature and scheduling. Without an online presence, you're doing yourself— and your patients— a disservice.

Encourage Self-Service

Patients experience more satisfaction when they have control and ownership over their healthcare services. Offering self-service options to your patients will help reduce wait times, no-shows, billing gaps, and frustration. Not only will these features improve patient satisfaction, but they could directly impact your operational costs and inefficiencies.

Self-service portals can offer things like:

  • Proactive onboarding and documentation submissions
  • Simplified check-ins
  • Appointment scheduling, cancellations, and reminders
  • Automated billing prompts and collection
  • Relevant information delivery
  • Added discretion

These features also contribute to centralization and streamlined systems, cutting back on administrative work and improving organization and time management.

Learn To Delegate and Outsource

Learning to delegate and outsource certain tasks can revolutionize your medical practice and patient experience. Many private practice owners are hesitant to outsource due to the associated costs; they fail to consider the opportunity costs of their actions. However, outsourcing transcription, scheduling, and collection services can reduce staffing needs and overwhelm. This allows staff to work more efficiently and experience less stress, improving interactions with patients.

If tasks don't require a medical doctorate to complete, medical professionals shouldn't be completing them.

Incorporate Scheduling Automation

Incorporating automation is a lifesaver for busy medical practices and enhances the patient experience by providing prompts and reminders to make their appointment as streamlined as possible. This feature is especially important for specialized practices that require advanced scheduling.

Prioritize Employee Care

Your employees are the face of your medical practice. Many practice owners make the mistake of trying to cut costs by keeping wages low. As medical practices can be a stressful environment, this decision often leads to high turnover rates and higher indirect costs.

Invest in your non-medical staff. Offer them truly competitive wages and benefits to build loyalty and retention. Prioritize work-life balance and promote mental and physical health initiatives in the office. Implement incentives and rewards, and learn how to share gratitude and positivity with your staff.

When your employees are happy and engaged, they're less likely to leave and cause service disruptions. Patients will get the benefit of their joy and care during communication, improving their experience during an often stressful time.

Commit to Continuous Reassessment

Never settle for the status quo. Set aside time each month and quarter to re-evaluate what's working, what new problems have arisen, and what improvements to prioritize.

Audit your systems and programs at least once per year to determine if your existing strategies are still effective. Finally, use performance metrics to track improvements regarding new patient acquisition, wait times, patient retention, and patient satisfaction.

With these simple strategies, you can start making changes that directly improve your patient experience, making your practice more profitable without sacrificing your integrity.

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