Patient satisfaction is a term healthcare practices take seriously. With different clinics and practices on every corner, patients have the luxury of choosing where and by whom they want to be seen. There are always a few limitations like insurance and the type of doctor they need, but for the most part, patients have a lot of options when it comes to choosing a provider. Just because a patient comes to your office for one visit, doesn’t necessarily mean they will return for follow-up care. If the patient isn’t satisfied for any number of reasons, chances are they will choose another provider or office for their next appointment.
That might sound daunting at first, but it doesn’t have to be. Studies show the reason many patients switch providers has little to do with the competency and expertise of the staff, and more to do with how they were treated and how patient-friendly the office procedures and logistics are.
The Patient-Provider Relationship Study found that most patients put greater connectivity and access to online tools at the top of their lists of what makes an ideal doctor. And really, neither of those things are difficult to implement in your practice if you have the right tools.
Patients want personal connections with their providers. They don’t want to feel like a revenue source. They want a doctor who will listen to their concerns and is truly invested in helping them achieve their health goals. One way to build these relationships is by maintaining consistent communication with patients between visits. With patient relationship management (PRM) software, you can easily send automated email messages to patients. While these messages are automated, that doesn’t mean they have to lose their personal feel. Your patient base can be segmented on a variety of characteristics, so you only send messages to patients who will benefit from it. Educational content can be sent to patients who fall in a certain demographic, or with a particular diagnosis, and information about general office news can be sent to all patients. This increases your patients’ trust in you as a provider, and helps them feel a personal connection with you. Plus, these messages between visits can help keep your practice at the front of their minds, so when it’s time to schedule another appointment, they call you.
But building connections is a two-way street. Your patients don’t just want to hear from you, they want to be able to reach you too. PRM software also makes this easy with the ability to have conversations through text, right from the office computer. Patients can send a text message to verify appointments, get directions to the practice, or ask questions, and practice staff can text their replies. Texting is far more convenient for both your patients and your practice, and gives patients one more reason to stay loyal to your practice.
Patients also want the ability to access your practice online. PRM software provides this through tools like an app and online scheduling. Phone calls rarely come at a good time, and phone tag is a game nobody likes to play. Instead of timing meetings and other appointments around a potential phone call for test results, patients would rather have access to an app on their phone, where they can see their results, view scheduled appointments, and pay their bills online. The same applies when patients want to contact your practice to schedule an appointment—they don’t want to do it over the phone. Patients are busy, and these calls average about eight minutes. They don’t want to try to find time during your office hours to match openings in their own calendar with the few options given at a time over the phone. Instead, they want to view the open appointments from your practice website, and choose the time that works best for them.
These processes play a big role in how satisfied a patient is with your practice. If scheduling an appointment or paying a bill is too much of a hassle for your patients, they’ll choose another provider who makes it easy for patients.
Patient satisfaction goes far beyond the competency of your medical staff. It doesn’t take much on your part to make patients feel comfortable and loyal towards your practice. To learn more ways PRM software can help improve patient satisfaction, download our guide, ‘Discover the Secret Sauce of Patient Satisfaction’ now.