Sample Article: Healthcare
Title: 5 Practices that Improve Patient Satisfaction and Practice Performance Scores
SEO Title: Improve Patient Satisfaction & Practice Performance Scores
Meta Description: To retain your patients, you must increase satisfaction and practice performance scores. Follow these tips to increase customer loyalty.
Keyword: patient satisfaction
Physician reimbursement continues to be impacted by patient satisfaction scores. At one time, this was only something hospitals concerned themselves with, but now, practices of any size must consider the impact. If you participate with Medicare payment reform or MACRA, you might find you suffer on a larger scale.
Those who face exemption find that value-based reimbursement combined with patient satisfaction affects revenue. The trouble is, getting high scores becomes harder day by day. Patients now compare healthcare experiences against retail and service sector involvement. When you factor in that the healthcare industry isn’t known to provide engaging, modern and seamless experiences, you see where the difficulty comes in.
As technology continues to increase, the majority of patients want to have a comparable customer service experience in the healthcare field as compared to retail. Starting with how a patient finds their provider to the way communication exists, patients demand more in the digital world. From online reviews to text messaging, today’s consumer wants a seamless experience.
When the experience doesn’t go as planned, frustration sets in and the patient will leave. According to Solutionreach’s Patient-Provider survey, one in ten patients has left their primary care physician in the past year and up to one in three might move over the next two years. Almost 40 percent of those who have left pointed to a poor experience as the reason.
Follow the best practices
The newest trends reveal how important it is to track and monitor patient satisfaction. It’s also vital to take the steps needed to improve and change according to the new expectations of the consumer. To gauge what patients want effectively, you must identify the areas for improvement. Here are the four best practices you should follow:
Keep it simple
While there’s nothing that can be done about preset CAHPS surveys, you have control over the complexity and length of the patient surveys sent out. You don’t want any of them to take more than five minutes to complete. On top of that, each one should focus on one topic. You might want to ask about new technology changes or a recent visit.
Don’t attempt to find out everything from one survey.
Make the survey timely
When you send out a post-visit survey, you want it to reach the patient within two days. The sooner you send it, the better. You want to receive the patient’s thoughts while the experience is still fresh in their minds.
Focus on getting the right data
Don’t create open-ended questions in your survey. You can leave an area at the end for some additional comments, but the survey should allow you to effectively analyze data. Either opt for “yes” and “no questions or multiple choice for the best results.
To put this into practice, you would change the question of, “How do you feel about the wait time?” to “Did you feel the wait time was reasonable – yes or no?”
Transfer to digital
Design and distribute your surveys electronically. Consumers prefer to take online surveys, according to Pew Research. By utilizing a digital platform, it’s simple to create the survey and automate the entire process. Make sure you personalize the survey to your patients to reach them further.
Handling negative experiences
If you don’t currently conduct patient surveys, you need to make it a priority going forward. It’s time to implement surveys and start gathering the necessary data from your patients’ experiences.
This information helps you to make the needed improvements. While there are numerous solutions available to you, you want to pick software that allows you to generate electronic surveys geared toward your industry. Healthcare-related survey systems have preset questions that help you customize the questionnaire for your practice.
You also want to edit or add questions that specifically allow you to gauge how you address the consumers’ top functions. A Solutionreach Patient-Provider Relationship Study identifies some key areas that caused patients to leave their primary provider over the past year.
Some of the top reasons included:
- Feeling like a number, not a person
- Decreasing customer experience with the office staff
- Trouble with scheduling, wait times and scheduling availability
Improving communication with the office
Make sure you focus on the interaction with the office staff. You want to know if your patients feel that they are friendly and that it is easy to schedule appointments. It’s also vital that your consumers think the communication is up to par. You want to communicate with them through their preferred method, whether it is text, phone or email.
If the office scores low on friendliness, you must look for ways to develop this. You will also know there’s somewhere to improve if your patients desire text communication and you don’t currently offer that. These surveys consistently show you where you can excel.
Use the results as a way to learn
When you take the feedback and apply it, you find many areas to improve in. As you make advances, you continue to heighten your patients’ experience.
Use some of these tips to make your process even more successful.
- Group the possible improvements into small to big changes. A small change might be something as simple as changing the temperature in the office, while the larger change might require additional staff training.
- Don’t tackle more than one big challenge at a time. You can quickly check off the little improvement such as adding access to beverages in your waiting room.
- When you adjust to fix the more significant complaints, ask for patient feedback. Gauge satisfaction based on the response from your clients. You show your care and compassion by reaching out for further guidance.
- Don’t be afraid of technology. Use modern innovations to address problems and complaints.
Surveys should never remain static. You want to implement the changes and settle into the new methods. Then, you must follow up to see what the patients think.
Once you change the processes in your office, send out a new follow-up survey to see the improvement. Don’t be afraid to specifically ask about the latest changes. By following up with your patients, you ensure that you continually change with the times. It also shows how much you care about their experience and helps you remain relevant.
By maintaining ongoing interaction and staying engaged, you continue to increase loyalty and make it harder for your patients to leave you. When your patients are satisfied, they are less likely to leave the practice.