Whether it be in the office or at home, the patient experience encompasses a vast number of interactions and opinions that shape how we feel about our healthcare provider.
Patients could be frustrated with their physician because they received a large bill in the mail that they don't understand. Or maybe they have an underlying fear of doctors that promotes a negative encounter even if their physician does everything right. While a wide variety of factors impact the experience a patient has with their healthcare provider, there are steps that a provider can take to improve the patient experience. These proactive steps also promote patient engagement while positively impacting revenue and quality of care.
Here are 6 ways that providers can improve the patient experience:
Variables Impacting the Patient Experience:
Nothing drives a person to be easily frustrated more than when they do not understand what is going on. This happens a lot in the medical community, where patients report being dissatisfied with their medical provider because they do not take the time to explain what is happening. The first step a physician can take to improve the patient experience is to take the time to educate their patients and explain in depth why they are making the decisions they are making. This can be difficult without the time-saving tools at hand to help streamline a physician’s workflow.
2) Patient Portal
The patient portal has become one of the most utilized tools for patients who want to be involved and understand their health better. The patient portal is a great way for your patients to revisit their Personal Health Information, view their medical bills, and communicate securely with their providers. The patient portal impacts the patient experience by giving the patient a hands-on way to stay informed on their care.
Patients have questions and concerns about their health all of the time, but they hardly get addressed, causing the patient experience to decline. This is mainly caused by an inability to effectively communicate with their physician outside of the office. Unless your patient comes in with a list of questions they have accrued for their visit, then they are not getting all of the answers they need. By using tools like the patient portal to securely communicate with their providers, patients feel more inclined to ask questions. With efficient response times, they feel an increased sense that their provider cares personally about their health, improving the patient experience.
With both communication, information, and an overall ability to access their providers, accessibility greatly impacts the patient experience. If a patient feels like their providers do not take the time to answer their questions, educate them on their treatment plan, and provide access to their PHI, patients start to feel like there is no point to remaining involved. By increasing the access a patient has to educational materials, clearly laid out medical bills, and tools to communicate, patient engagement increases, impacting the patient experience.
A great method to improve the patient experience that is not always addressed in the medical community is the need for patients to engage in their community. This is especially true for patients with longer recoveries or chronic conditions who might need to be connected to resources in their community that could help them. These resources include support groups, pharmacies close to them, or organizations dedicated to helping people with their condition.
6) Alternative Visits
For patients who avoid their providers due to long travel times and wait times, providers should consider offering alternative visits. An alternative visit includes an e-visit or Telehealth visit that allows the patient the opportunity to stay home rather than come to the office for their non-urgent medical care. This improves the patient experience by introducing more convenient and less frustrating options for the patient to still remain engaged with their provider. Chronic Care Management is another service that can help patients feel cared for and is an extra resource to help answer health questions and concerns, as well as improve health outcomes.
By paying attention to these 6 factors, providers could greatly improve the patient experience by empowering them to visit with their provider more often and take charge of their personal health goals. To learn more, click here.
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