Even when a provider offers high-level care, on all sides, to their patients on a daily basis, if they do not embody certain characteristics, then their patients will have a poor patient experience.
What characteristics are we talking about? Patient care needs to achieve more than a diagnosis and treatment plan. Providers need to partner with their patients in a way that utilizes patient engagement strategies, simplified payment strategies, improved in-office/out-of-office interaction, and increased access and transparency to both their provider and their personal data. All meeting to improve the patient experience. Utilizing these key characteristics and strategies can not only keep your patients happy with their visit, but it keeps them coming in your door time and time again.
Providers should utilize these 5 key strategies for improving the patient experience and here is why:
1) Increased Access
One of the number one methods to increase patient engagement and improve the patient experience is identifying areas to increase patient access. This means offering open lines of communication to your patients via a secure messaging center, making it convenient to ask questions and interact with their physician. It includes a user-friendly way for a patient to view their personal health information (PHI) and easily update their PHI when necessary. Both of these features empower the patient and enable them to take control of their personal health, achieve their health goals, and improve their outcomes. By increasing access, the provider improves the patient experience by developing the patient-provider relationship and sense of loyalty.
2) In-Office Patient Experience
Patients often avoid visiting with their medical providers for a multitude of reasons. Whether it be a lack of understanding of their personal health, fear of the unknown, or forgetting their annual appointments, the most frequent cause of avoidance is poor patient experience. These inconveniences include long wait times, filling out forms, or the long travel times that throw off the patient’s entire day. Providers can improve the patient experience by utilizing tools that eliminate these inconveniences and promote patient engagement. These tools include things like the digital patient intake form, e-visits, and automated appointment reminders. Each one of these methods works to eliminate long wait times and create a convenient environment for positive interactions.
3) Simplified Billing
Another huge reason that patients avoid their provider is the large question mark that is their medical billing. Patient’s report feeling a sense of anxiety when it comes to their medical bill. This is mainly because they are often difficult to understand. Providers can improve the patient experience by offering a simplified patient billing option that improves their understanding and empowers them to make on-time payments. By increasing the education and understanding surrounding their medical bill, providers eliminate the anxiety many patients feel. Not only does this increase the number of on-time payments, but it improves the patient experience by empowering them to manage their personal health head-on, without reservation. Utilizing a quality medical billing software integrated with your EHR makes it possible to send clear and concise patient statements and offer payment plan options.
4) Allow for Comments and Criticism
By giving your patients a place to voice their feedback, concerns, and suggestions, providers help their patients use their voice. The patient experience is often hindered by an individual’s inability to voice their feedback when they are frustrated or upset. This also promotes high levels of communication between the patient and their providers while simultaneously bringing areas in need of improvement to their attention. Always give your patients space to engage you, even if it is not exclusively positive.
These four strategies improve the patient experience by educating the patient on the different aspects of their care, eliminating some of the inconveniences associated with a medical visit, and giving them room to use their voices constructively.
By utilizing these strategies, providers engage their patients in a positive way that includes more than just their straightforward medical care.