September 9, 2021 - Parul Saini, Webmedy Team
Patient satisfaction, while always a critical factor, has recently gained momentum in the healthcare space. In the wake of the patient-centered healthcare environment, patients are demanding a bigger role in managing their healthcare, and they expect a higher level of commitment and care from their providers. Healthcare providers are adjusting their strategic plans accordingly.
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In the last few decades, patient satisfaction has become an important and integral part of healthcare organizations. Improving patient satisfaction has become a hot topic of conversation among healthcare professionals. Patients are now customers. When they walk through your doors, they have higher expectations than ever before. Moreover, they will not wait to utilize the power of social media and tell the world if their experiences with your medical practice are not as expected.
It is high time for healthcare organizations to focus on patient experience and provide high-quality service and quality care and that is the only way to sustain your practice. The patient satisfaction journey starts from the first time a patient contacts your practice and continues until their bill is paid.
Patient Satisfaction is the most important and commonly used factor for measuring the quality of healthcare. Patient satisfaction affects clinical outcomes, patient retention, and medical malpractice claims. It affects the timely, efficient, and patient-centered delivery of quality health care.
Simply put, patient satisfaction is an indicator of how well the patient is being treated at your medical practice. The "how well" refers not only to the quality of care but also to how happy a patient is with the treatment he or she received. It is a measure of the quality of care and gives healthcare providers valuable insights into various aspects of healthcare, including the effectiveness of their care and their level of understanding.
In the era of the internet, there is no reason to not connect and engage with your patients. Around 40% of doctors agreed that using digital channels to connect and communicate with patients will boost patients outcomes.
There is nothing more frustrating than showing up on time for an appointment only to wait in the waiting room for about 30 mins before your turn comes. Most of the patients would switch to doctors for a short waiting time.
Creating a happy and uplifting work environment for your staff can make for a better overall patient experience. A strong relationship has been proven to exist between staff satisfaction and patients' perceptions of the quality of their care.
Providing your patients with the necessary information is critical to achieving a positive patient experience. A patient will feel empowered when he or she leaves your office with more knowledge about his or her diagnosis and treatment options. Not just that, studies have revealed that greater patient empowerment leads to better patient adherence, which leads to improvements in patient satisfaction and clinical outcomes.
Make sure your employees are focused on delivering service that is not only high-quality but also delivers a positive patient experience. The first step to ensuring patient-centric care is by making sure that your employees have this common goal in mind. You should encourage your team to suggest ideas for improving patient satisfaction within your practice. You should convey the message to your staff that providing exceptional patient service is not an option; rather it is compulsory for every employee. Your staff must realize the significance of providing excellent service to patients and their families. It is critical to hold your employees responsible for the overall patient experience.
Patients usually get irritated by the inability to communicate with their providers between appointments. You can use technology and build systems that open the lines of communication between the doctor and the patient. This will not only foster long-term patient relationships but will create better clinical outcomes by making it easy for patients to schedule appointments.
Healthcare professionals who make an effort to maintain eye contact with their patients - rather than distractedly looking at computer screens and charts - demonstrate their dedication to the patient. Some practitioners may choose to have a medical scribe in the room for this very reason, allowing them to "listen with their eyes" while the scribe takes notes. Saying a patient's name also helps individualize and personalize the patient experience, as does asking questions like, "What matters to you?"
When we are talking about patient satisfaction and patient experience, upgrading outdated internal systems is the key. Even small changes to appointment scheduling platforms, waiting room signage and systems, and nurse call buttons can have a significant impact on patient satisfaction.
No patient wants to receive care in an environment that doesn't feel safe and clean. Practicing cleanliness in all areas of the institution, from the waiting room to the physician's office, helps protect patients and puts them at ease. It's also one of the core areas evaluated by the HCAHPS survey.
Patients want to be comfortable during their hospital visits and want their needs to be understood. Improving patient satisfaction means understanding the facility's unique patient population and its needs. What will please one group of patients may not satisfy another, and hospital leaders must bear that in mind. Changing little things like a smile, keeping patients updated about wait times and appointments can do wonders for you. The above tips can help you to improve patients care and satisfaction without much investment.