A positive patient experience at a doctor's office

From the first phone call to an in-person appointment and beyond, how a customer perceives a healthcare provider matters. For most practice managers or doctors, the patient experience is something they may think about, but do they really know what that means?

Think of the last time you needed to visit a medical practice. How did the phone call go? Were you on hold for a long time, did you have to listen to endless recordings and push lots of numbers to get to an actual person? And when you finally reached someone, did they say, “Please hold?” In the waiting room, did you wait 30 minutes or longer after your appointment time before being ushered into the examination room only to wait another 30 minutes to be seen?

These are all examples of patient experience failures, and the problem with them is that your patients will remember. If asked how their experience went, many people are happy to answer, and some even go so far as to visit doctor review sites and post their experience online for all to see. That’s great if it is a good review and not so great if it’s a negative review. Worse yet, even one negative review can influence a potential patient, making them less likely to choose your practice.

To avoid these potential situations, medical practices can create a better, more personalized patient experience through a variety of methods. Using a combination of cutting-edge technology, business intelligence, and operational excellence, new systems for improving the patient experience exist to help practices meet today’s new consumer and patient demands.

Technology can streamline the process by allowing patients to set up appointments online, without having to wait on long phone holds. Some practices use apps to allow patients to wait outside, rather than in a crowded (and potentially infectious) waiting room, and notifies them by text when the practitioner is ready to see them. Patients have many options these days and, with the ease of changing doctors, when faced with bad customer service, they simply move on. 

New technology helps practices improve patient experience through discovery and user research; by developing and deploying better processes; through customer feedback; and by formulating unique customer lifecycle experiences to maximize the patient experience.

Indeed, the customer experience is what it’s all about.

While practitioners like doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals may not think they are in the customer service business, they are. That’s why practices need to embrace patient experience technology. Competition is getting fierce, and during global health issues, the practices meeting new patient needs will be the ones that get the business. By utilizing advanced software to analyze patient data, practices can fine-tune and improve each patient’s experience, making them more likely to return.