Patient satisfaction is the extent to which patients are happy with their healthcare, both inside and outside of the doctor’s office. How to increase patient satisfaction should be a top priority for every provider as the healthcare industry evolves. There is a shift toward patient-centric healthcare, which means knowing what they want out of a provider is key. Here are eight easy ways to increase patient satisfaction without increasing costs.
Providing a great experience during a patient’s visit is essential to keep patients coming back. It starts from the moment they walk in the door with a warm, welcoming attitude from the front office staff. Something as simple as a friendly hello and a smile during check-in can go along way with a patient and set the tone for the rest of the visit. Many studies have proven that when people look at a smiling face, our brains release endorphins which makes us feel happier and calmer.
One of the biggest frustrations for patients centers on waiting. Patients get frustrated if they are made to wait excessive amount of time before being seen. They feel like their schedule is not respected.
According to the Physician Wait Time Report:
- 84 percent of people believe wait time is either somewhat or very important to the overall experience at a doctor’s office.
- One in every five people has switched doctors due to long wait times.
- 30 percent of patients have left a doctor’s appointment because of a long wait.
The best way to handle wait times is to communicate. Make it a point to tell patients how long they can expect to wait. Update them if the doctor is running behind. Surveys show patients appreciate transparency.
- Eighty percent of patients said being told the wait time would either completely or somewhat minimize their frustration.
- Seventy percent said a personal apology from their physician would completely or somewhat minimize their frustration.
On the topic of waiting, the place of patients can also go a long way in improving patient satisfaction. Rather than a room filled with uncomfortable chairs and outdated magazines, the waiting room should be a place that is enjoyable for patients before their appointment. Provide video screens with informative programming focused on healthy nutrition and lifestyle. Pipe soothing spa-like music into the waiting room to help patients relax. One survey suggests free internet in the waiting room would completely or somewhat minimize frustration for 60 percent of respondents.
While waiting for their appointment to start, encourage patients to list appointment goals and set their priority agendas before seeing a physician. This enables more-focused visits and reduces the number of “add-on” problems at the end of consultations. Goal sheets help patients verbalize what they want to get out of consultations with their doctors and enable doctors to tailor appointments to best address the desired objectives.
Not only do patients come for a medical opinion, but they also want it delivered by someone they feel comfortable with and who is invested in their well-being. Doctors need to be mindful to not only provide a thorough examination and give patients a full understanding of their treatment plan, but they need to do it with a warm, caring, and friendly presence. The same sensitivity should be displayed by the attending staff.
Follow-up and Feedback
Before the patient leaves the office, ask them for their feedback. In fact, a study found 73 percent of patients want to be asked for feedback a few minutes to a few hours after a doctor visit. Sending a patient satisfaction survey (insert a link to 1st patient satisfaction blog here) shortly after a visit is the best time to get feedback, as the experience is still top of mind. Even negative feedback can help improve the quality of services and lead to happier patients.
Offer Educational Content
Create and share helpful healthcare content in a blog section on your website. This is a great way to provide valuable medical information and increase patient satisfaction. Consider the commonly asked questions and develop educational content that addresses these questions. The same can be done when a high-profile health crisis tops news headlines.
Keep in Touch
Communicate with patients via email to send appointment reminders, alert patients to new services and discounts, and provide healthcare tips through a regular newsletter. An email marketing survey found 91 percent of adults like to receive promotional emails from businesses they patronize.
American Family Care is constantly striving for patient satisfaction. In fact, the AFC franchise model is built around putting the patient first. At AFC, patients can get the care they need, when they need it, at a price they can afford. This foundation is why AFC is the leader in the urgent care industry and is positioned for greater success as patients abandon the traditional primary care model in favor of affordable and accessible healthcare models.
If you want to be part of the expanding healthcare industry, contact us today to learn more about franchising opportunities.