You could spend a million dollars a year in medical marketing, but if the communication within your practice is weak, your patients are going to end up frustrated and on someone else’s schedule.
Patient satisfaction is critical in healthcare. No longer are patients dependent on their insurance to tell them where to go. Patients have become quite adept at choosing their healthcare team. If a practice isn’t up to snuff, there is a high likelihood they’ll to elsewhere. If you want to retain your patients, generate word of mouth referrals, and grow your practice, you need to implement the following tips.
Six Things You Can Do to Increase Patient Satisfaction
- Don’t promise things you can’t deliver. If you tell a patient that they will receive a particular service or product and then be sure to deliver upon that promise. We like to underpromise and overdeliver. That way, everyone knows what to expect, people aren’t disappointed or confused with the process, and everyone wins when we exceed our client’s expectations.
- Make sure patients are called back quickly. We get it. You are busy. Your staff is busy. But the fastest way to piss off a patient is to say you will get back to them within a certain period of time and then never call them.
- Improve the wait. Don’t expect patients to sit in your lobby for an hour waiting to be seen. Emergencies happen, and patients should be understanding, but assuming it is business as usual, long wait times are unacceptable. According to Vitals.com, 84% of patients believe that wait times are either somewhat or very important to the medical practices they utilize. They also report that 1 in 5 patients have left a medical practice due to long wait times. If your wait times are long, adjust your schedule so that each patient is seen quickly.
- Practice empathy. No one likes to talk to someone unhappy. It is uncomfortable and unpleasant. When a patient is brave enough to share their displeasure, use empathetic listening. Sometimes a patient needs to voice their concerns. Look at feedback as an opportunity to help the practice make changes for the better. Help them feel like their opinion matters and tell them what you are going to do to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
- Create active lines of communication. Often, patients don’t know where to address their concerns, so they go online and write a negative review. Create open and active lines of communication to provide patients with an opportunity to address their concerns on the spot. That may mean creating the role of patient advocate or patient liaison or having a manager or supervisor readily available. Clearly define communication options to patients, so they know where to go if they have something positive or negative to share.
- Be transparent with the cost of healthcare. According to Accenture, 65% of patients say transparency about the cost of healthcare services is either very or critically important. Per the same report, a whopping 80% of patients want their doctors to help them manage their healthcare costs by clearly defining what insurance covers and what it doesn’t.
Patient satisfaction is essential to the success of any healthcare business. Invest the time to ensure you are adequately meeting the needs of your patients.