The patient experience can be determined by many factors. Interactions with healthcare providers, access to information, communication, wait times, and more, all impact the way a patient feels before, during, and after their treatment.
With a better patient experience, both the individuals being treated and the healthcare providers win. In the U.S., estimates show that active patient choices can impact more than 60 percent of healthcare spending.1 In addition, a better experience can result in patient loyalty, referrals, fewer missed appointments, and most importantly, better care.
Here are four areas healthcare organizations can improve on to provide their patients with a positive experience:
Personalize the Patient Experience
There is no one size fits all answer to healthcare treatment. Each person seeks treatment for different reasons and each person’s diagnosis and recovery is unique.
It’s vital that caregivers understand their patient’s preferences, sensitivities, and concerns. Generally, patients are looking for a better quality of life after treatment, a pain-free process, and fast recovery. When a patient comes in for an initial consultation, the provider should ask what their goal is.
For many, going to the doctors can induce anxiety. Especially when there may be a language or cultural barrier between the patient and the provider. Every patient should be asked up front what language they prefer and if there are any cultural or religious boundaries they are concerned about.
After the appointment, collecting information from the patients about their experience and keeping it as a part of their chart can be used to inform healthcare providers for this individual in the future.
Expand Healthcare Education
Many patients don’t understand the intricacies of healthcare. Not knowing what is going on with your body can be overwhelming. Some patients don’t even know what questions to ask.
Being aware of this perspective can help healthcare providers understand the importance of providing education to their patients.
Even before an appointment, doctors can use their platforms to provide large-scale outreach and education to help their patients make informed decisions. This effort could include providing resources online, providing detailed data prepared for the patient, or encouraging healthy behavior as preventative care. Health literacy should be a priority for every healthcare office.
Ultimately, the goal of the provider should be to give enough information for a patient to understand their own healthcare needs.
Create A Better Experience with Technology
Providing patients with a digital healthcare experience is no longer optional; it’s required.
This starts with having a functional and informative website. When searching for a new provider, even if it’s based on a referral, most people look at their website for information.
A few ways to ensure you are captivating your potential patient is to provide an easy-to-navigate website, offer online scheduling and educational resources. Patients also like to see information about the doctors such as where they went to school, how long they’ve been in practice and what their specialties are.
Another important technology advancement in healthcare is the rise of telehealth. The option to connect with a physician over a video call provides a level of convenience the healthcare industry has never offered before.
Although, with the rise of telehealth, some patients such as seniors who may need more care than others could be overwhelmed by the new technology. Practitioners can provide how-to guides or clear instructions to help their patients feel more comfortable with the telehealth option.
Technology such as electronic health records, self-monitoring tools, and even advancements that allow for more minimally invasive procedures all add to a positive patient experience.
Listen to the Frontline Workers
One of the most important factors leading to a positive patient experience is the experience of the frontline workers within the organization.
A negative internal environment, inefficient processes and poor workflow can lead to bad patient experience. This can in turn create an even worse culture among the caregivers, thus creating a vicious cycle.
Survey the providers who are with patients every day. Ask them what they think is working or not working, what resources they need, and take their feedback seriously. Their insight can lead to new ways to streamline a process or provide better care for the patient.
By listening to your nurses and technicians, you will empower them to provide compassionate care. Their engagement with the patient can make all the difference for both the patient and for the business.
According to the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, hospitals with “excellent” Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) patient ratings had a net margin of 4.7 percent, compared to just 1.8 percent for hospitals with “low” ratings.2
When an organization can innovate and create an exceptional patient experience, they will truly differentiate themselves and transform the healthcare industry.
1 Harvard Business Review, Jan. 9, 2019, Why Improving the Patient Experience Is Vital for the Health Care Industry and How To Do It
2 Forbes, Jan. 6, 2021, 8 Patient Experience Trends To Watch In 2021