Every provider understands that their patients live life in the fast lane. With the endless demands we all face, it is no surprise that scheduled appointments are sometimes missed. To keep up with the dynamic lifestyles of their patients, providers need to make sure that their practice adds as little stress to their patients' lives as possible. From scheduling to check-in, here are 10 simple ways that every provider can make their patient processes more dynamic.
- Use your social media platforms to keep patients updated on your active business hours. Is a holiday coming up? A simple event on Facebook stating that your practice will be closed will do the trick. You can also use a fun graphic to post on the main feed of every platform your practice is using.
- Don’t leave your patients hanging. Even if your office is not open (or if you're simply away from the phone), make sure you have a voicemail, automated messaging, or an auto response available with information that includes why you are not available, and when you will be again. This seems so simple, but taking a moment to set up an automated message with this information shows your patients how much you care.
- Educate your patients when not in the office. Posting on your social media or using your newsletters to share helpful information on a variety of subjects is a great way to build a relationship with your patients and maintain contact with them between visits. This helpful information, like when is best to come in to see a provider during flu season, can help your patients by not wasting their time.
- Prepare them for the visit. Using your newsletter, practice blog, or Facebook page, post a “What to Expect” article where you can walk your patients through your office check-in process. Knowing ahead of time what to expect the minute they walk through the door is going the extra mile to ease their stressful lives, and also helps to make sure they bring everything they would need.
- Give them a friendly face. Using your newsletter, social media, or even a fun Facebook Live video, introduce your patients to your office staff. By sharing smiling photos of the office staff, patients can feel more relaxed and comfortable coming into the office and finding a familiar face to help them.
- Create a community. By sending a monthly newsletter, regularly posting on social media and/or a practice blog, a provider can create a community through educational information, sharing tips, and celebrating milestones and birthdays with their patients. When patients feel that they are part of a community, they are comfortable and more at ease to be open to communicate.
- Don’t hesitate to try digital. No one likes to feel sick and then spend time filling out patient information sheets or updates during the check-in process. Speed things up by sending these to the patient ahead of time to fill out online, or print and fill out, and bring in with them.
- Send personalized automated reminders of scheduled appointments. By making your reminders automated and personal, it shows patients that providers are invested in their care, in making sure that their needs are being met.
- Create a warm office environment. Use seasonal decor and cater your waiting room to match your patients, not the wall treatment, to help your practice set your patients at ease.
- Greet your patients. Knowing your patients by name and saying hello when you see them during their check-in process is a great way to build and maintain relationships between providers and patients.
Keeping patients updated on office hours, providing a warm office waiting area, and greeting patients by name may seem like insignificant or small things but they can really help patients feel that they are a priority and ease the stress of seeing a provider. A patient’s experience is important, to read more about how you can help your patients have the best experience in your office check out our free checklist, "7 Research-Backed Steps to a Patient-Friendly Office."