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Patient Perception: Grading Your COVID Performance

Posted on May 03, 2021 by Karla Socci Somers

    GettyImages-1305212983When it comes to creating a great patient experience, patient perception plays a big role. In fact, there’s a direct correlation between patient perception, patient satisfaction, and effectiveness of care. 

    You may be doing a stellar job providing top-notch eye care, dental treatments, or other necessary healthcare services, but if your patients perceive otherwise, you’re at risk of losing them to another practice. This was (and still is) especially true during the new normal of COVID.

    Sixty-four percent of patients in the U.S. report that they’re likely to find a new dentist, ophthalmologist, or primary care physician if their current providers are not meeting patient expectations for managing COVID-19 concerns. 

    How does your practice measure up in patient perception?

    We recently held our first webinar in our three-part series: Completing Your Practice Comeback, Part 1: Grading Your COVID Performance. During this webinar, we asked practices to rate themselves on how well they’re doing in this area. We asked questions like:

    • Are you still pre-screening patients and taking temperatures?
    • Do you practice social distancing in the office so patients feel safe?
    • Do you have hand sanitizer readily available throughout the office?
    • Do you send pre-visit instructions with COVID protocol via text or email?
    • Do you have a park-and-text waiting room?
    • Are you clearly communicating with your patients about COVID protocol?
    • Do you offer digital intake forms so patients don’t have to touch clipboards?
    • Have you removed all germ-spreading items, such as toys, magazines, and coffee stations?

    A large majority of our webinar participants are doing most of the things patients perceive as keeping everyone safe during the pandemic.

    If you answered yes to most of these questions, then you’re probably in pretty good shape in terms of patient perception and satisfaction, which means you have a low risk of losing patients to another provider. But, if you find that there’s some room for improvement, it’s not too late to make some changes. Simply communicate to your existing patients all that you’re actively doing to ensure their safety the next time they come in for an appointment. 

    Clearly communicate your COVID protocols to improve patient satisfaction.

    It’s never too late to start conversations with your patients. Here are some ideas on how to do just that:

    • Email a newsletter to patients outlining all your safety protocols, office policies, etc. Let them know any special sanitizing steps you’re taking between patients, and on a daily and weekly basis.
    • Send text updates to patients letting them know what to do when they arrive for an appointment, such as wait in their car; call or text the office; expect a patient concierge to invite them in.
    • Email or text a link to forms so patients can fill them out at home, using their own phones, tablets, and computers, and communicate the benefits of not touching “community” pens and clipboards. 

    If something as simple as communicating clearly to patients about the steps your office takes every day to keep patients safe – or adding self-service bottles of hand sanitizer to each treatment room – boosts patient perception, why wouldn’t you do it? It could mean the difference between keeping the patients you have, and getting new ones from better reviews and more referrals. 

    Don’t let your patients join the growing statistics of switching providers. Build loyalty, keep your schedule full, and increase revenue. A few small steps is all it takes.

    Watch Webinar

    Karla Socci Somers

    Karla Socci Somers

    Karla Socci Somers has been working as a marketing professional for the healthcare industry since 2014, and before that, she wrote content and designed logos for a variety of small businesses. Her educational and professional backgrounds include interpersonal communications, interest-based negotiation, conflict management, and graphic design. Karla has an affinity for rescuing German Shepherd Dogs who need extra help socializing with their humans.

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