With patient expectations increasingly taking their cues from the hospitality world, healthcare providers need to ensure that they’re engaging with patients and providing a high-quality experience. This is increasingly important in the context of COVID-19, which has reshaped patient expectations and dramatically changed patient behavior.
Here’s how you can manage your patient experience across your group practice to build engagement and meet patient needs.
Double Down on Digital-First Triage
If your practice is expending valuable resources on the “worried well,” reconsider how you identify and direct patients during first contact. Digital processes such as phone menus, forms, and chatbots can all be used to filter out those who just need a reassuring phone call while ensuring that those with serious symptoms are seen promptly and by the right practitioner. In the age of COVID-19, phone calls and virtual appointments are a popular alternative to in-person visits – while freeing up resources for patients who need to be seen in person.
Streamline Your Appointment Booking Processes
Appointment availability is a major factor for both new and current patients. Patients want to know that they can be seen promptly and at a time that’s convenient for them. To maximize your performance in this area, develop clinic-wide protocols, invest in intuitive scheduling software that both staff and patients can use, and train staff – including clinicians – on best practices regarding appointment times and avoiding double-booking. Having a centralized, streamlined appointment booking process will help keep patients happy while increasing revenue.
Find New Ways to Connect
Consumers today see all businesses as brands. They have certain expectations from your clinic, with support, convenience and a personal touch being among them. By thinking beyond appointment cards, printouts, and automated billing mailouts, you can turn small administrative moments into an opportunity to connect with and engage your patients. Use an automated text service to check in on patients, remind them of upcoming appointments, or to provide updates about wait times. Offer self-service scheduling accompanied by estimated costs. Use digital newsletters or mailouts to share health tips, recommendations for routine care, or news from the clinic.
Provide A Point of Contact
Chatbots and telephone menus are great for solving certain problems, but they’re not always the solution. Sometimes a direct point of contact is needed – and a human one at that. Make sure that your clinic provides communication options such as two-way email or direct numbers for billing assistance or emergencies. This will ensure that patients know that there’s always someone there to help.
By streamlining appointment booking, helping patients connect with the care they need, and improving access and satisfaction, your clinic will be able to drive engagement and satisfaction among both patients and staff. You’ll see increased loyalty – and bottom-line results. For more information about reimagining your clinic to meet the needs of today’s patients, get in touch. As medical real estate experts, we’re well versed in how clinics can position themselves for success.