Although customer satisfaction is a priority for most businesses, healthcare is more than just a business and that’s why it is even more essential to make sure that patients are comfortable and have a positive experience. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen, in spite of the intent being there. On that note, we will now take a look at four effective and easy practices which have been proven to improve the patient experience.
Most of us lead busy lives and it is never a nice feeling to waste time by simply waiting for someone who is late. Every healthcare professional should maintain punctuality because not only is it professional, it sends out a message that the patient’s time is valuable.
If the doctor is going to be late or the X-ray machine isn’t really working like it should, the first thing you need to do is inform the waiting patients about the problem. Try putting yourself in the patient’s shoes; wouldn’t it upset you if you had cleared your busy schedule for an appointment with someone and the person was not only late, but was also not giving you any reason as to why he was late? Give them a reason for the delay and if possible, also provide them with an estimated wait time. Keep them updated about the situation periodically and offer them a sincere apology.
Punctuality is appreciated by everyone, but if a situation cannot be helped, people appreciate the updated communication more than anything. There might still be frustration on their part and that’s natural, but the intensity of those emotions will be much more severe if they have to wait indefinitely without any updates from the facility.
Any point of interaction in between the facility and the patient party could be a cause for confusion. Eliminate the chances of such confusions from occurring in the first place by providing clear instructions on your website, emails, printed materials and even phone messages. Instructions should at least cover the following topics.
- How to make appointments
- How to contact for late night emergencies
- How to contact the office for general information
- How to get prescriptions refilled
- How to lodge a complaint
Patients that come in for treatments are often not in the best of moods because most of them wouldn’t be there if they could help it. Some patients are even petrified of being in a hospital and a gesture as simple as calling him/her by the first name could help to relieve some tension. All the concerned staff should introduce themselves to the patient as well or at least should wear a nametag. Alternatively, adding a Mr./Miss./Ms./Mrs. before the last name of the patient could also work, if you want them to feel more respected.
As you can probably see, more often than not, communication is the key to improving patient experience at a facility. Nobody likes receiving an unpleasant surprise, so by simply cutting down on any patient-doctor communication gap, experiences can improved upon.