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5 Concrete Ways to Improve the Patient Experience

Going to the doctor should be effortless. So why do patients tend to encounter so many obstacles along their journey?

5 Concrete Ways to Improve the Patient Experience

Going to the doctor should be effortless. So why do patients tend to encounter so many obstacles along their journey?  

Patients often deal with everything from long wait times to analog processes, resulting in decreased satisfaction. Just look at the numbers – 71% of patients are reportedly frustrated with their healthcare experience, mostly due to impersonal interactions and scheduling issues.

The good news is many of these frustration-causing problems are easily preventable. But in order to mitigate them, healthcare organizations need to create a strategic approach to address their patients’ pain points and ensure they put sustainable mechanisms in place to offer an incredible end-to-end experience.

Here are 5 ways to improve the patient experience:

#1 Wait Time Management

No one likes to wait for long periods of time at any location, especially the doctor’s office. In fact, 30% of patients have reportedly walked out of an appointment due to long wait times, and 1 out of 5 patients claim that they have even changed doctors due to excessive wait times

When a health system consistently experiences high patient wait times, one solution that can help mitigate this issue is wait time analysis. This solution allows transparency and tracking for both patients and staff to see how long it takes for an individual to be seen by a healthcare provider. For example, a patient can check in at the front desk and will be able to see how long they have been waiting via lobby display boards. Providers can also see how long each patient has been waiting on their computers via patient portal.

Wait time analysis helps reduce potential frustration and confusion among patients thanks to the data it provides. These actionable data insights help healthcare systems easily identify any problem areas. Healthcare providers can also receive live updates on wait times to get a better idea of how long patients are left waiting. Use wait time analysis to cut down on patient wait times and improve the patient experience all together.

#2 Patient Surveys

Patients can offer valuable feedback for your practice. Whether it’s about their care or experience with staff, patients can provide a point of view that most healthcare providers cannot.

86% of patients in America value satisfaction surveys, specifically reporting that they would likely take a survey from their provider if prompted to do so. Afterall, it is a chance to voice their opinions and describe their experiences – whether they were positive or negative.

Practices should offer pre- and post-surveys to capture the entirety of the patient experience. The surveys can be highly customizable and specific to one’s practice. Ultimately, it is important that surveys fit smoothly into the patient workflow to achieve high response rates. Surveys will allow your practice to grow and evolve based largely on patient feedback.

#3 Positive Patient Identification (PPID)

Biometric PPID is a tool used to help accurately identify patients by identifying them via their physical features (scanning their finger, face, palm, retina, etc.). PPID not only streamlines patient check-in, but also helps patients avoid unnecessary harm at the doctor’s office. Using biometrics to identify patients makes it very unlikely for people to be given the wrong treatment due to mistaken identity.

PPID reduces serious medication dispensing errors by 75%, thus protecting patients from receiving incorrect treatment that is potentially harmful or even fatal. PPID can help practices avoid this unfortunate scenario by correctly identifying patients on a consistent basis.

Want to learn more about biometric PPID? Click HERE to check out our blog, What Is Positive Patient Identification (PPID)?

#4 Strong Patient Communication

Clear communication between a health practitioner and patient is crucial for an optimal patient experience. For instance, according to Duke:

“Effective physician-patient communication has been shown to positively influence health outcomes by increasing patient satisfaction, leading to greater patient understanding of health problems and treatments available, contributing to better adherence to treatment plans, and providing support and reassurance to patients.”

Improving patient communication is key to making great improvements at your practice. To accomplish this, healthcare providers should focus on direct, easy, and customizable communication to increase patient satisfaction and reduce no-shows.

This might involve some of the following communication mechanisms:

  • Text & Email Appointment Reminders
  • Communication Tracking
  • Follow-Up Emails
  • Payment Reminders
  • “Physician Is Running Late” Texts

By customizing and automating this type of patient communication, organizations can engage their patients every step of the way.

#5 More Digital Options

For many patients, it can be extremely frustrating to arrive at the doctor’s office and find that the patient workflow is outdated. It’s time to ditch the clipboard and go digital for a smoother, more modern experience to boost patient satisfaction.

For example, having online self-scheduling options can allow patients to easily schedule an appointment online as opposed to over the phone. 44% of patients reportedly prefer doctors that offer online self-scheduling options, due to the ease and flexibility that online appointment scheduling offers as opposed to other forms of appointment scheduling.

Offering the option for patients to complete forms digitally or on their mobile devices can also greatly improve the patient experience. 70% of patients consider doctors to be more organized if they offer options for digital form completion instead of only relying on pen and paper. Accommodating patients who prefer digital options is greatly important in improving the patient experience due to its ease of use.   

How can I implement these changes?

These 5 tools – wait time analysis, patient surveys, strong patient communication, and more digital options – can drastically increase patient satisfaction. If you are wondering how to bring these solutions to your practice, CERTIFY Health can help you do just that. We offer each of these solutions and more to help your healthcare organization optimize your patient journey.

Request a demo today to learn more about what CERTIFY Health can bring your practice.