5 Patient Experience Goals You Can Reach in 2015

Lea Chatham November 4th, 2014

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Tweet This Kareo StoryBy Cheryl Bisera

As you wrap up Q4, surely you are thinking about all that you want to accomplish in 2015. Improved operational efficiency aimed at increasing the bottom line without increasing stress and work hours for over-stretched providers should be every practice’s goal. Yet there is a silent but equally important issue that often goes overlooked. Improving your patient’s experience is a relatively easy (and rewarding) way to contribute to growth and improved revenue.

Other industries have the customer service piece nailed, or at least know they need to. For some reason, healthcare tends to lag behind. I still see surprising relics and habits of the old HMO-mentality in practices that believe they’re succeeding in this. Follow through is crucial. For example, putting a comment box in the reception room doesn’t necessarily make your practice patient-centered. Failing to respond to comments patients submit is worse than not asking for them at all. Likewise, a patient-focused mission statement that isn’t backed with action is reduced to meaningless words and an unfulfilled promise. On the other hand, building a culture of service and delivering a stellar patient experience strengthens patient loyalty and contributes to practice growth and stability.

Here are five simple changes you can make to improve your patient experience in 2015 (and pat yourself on the back each time). Then, reap the benefits of delivering a patient experience your patients will want to share with others!

  1. Be the team. It takes regular communication from leaders to bring about a team culture. But the look of the team can be expressed to patients by dialing in staff appearance. These simple changes not only give patients access to the names of those that serve them, but boost professionalism while underscoring your brand.
    - Staff uniforms or matching scrubs in practice colors
    - Name badges communicating name, credentials and your brand
  2. Give ‘em goodies. That’s right, spoil ‘em. After all, what’s your practice without patients? Patients really are that important (even if they drive you crazy sometimes). Make sure the reception room has something to boast about—it’s a smart investment in first impressions. Remember, little things have big impact:
    - A well-stocked drink station (consider adding an unexpected treat too)
    - “Something extra” to take with them, a giveaway they actual get excited about
    - Comfortable, clean, and updated décor and fresh reading material your patients would like—imagine you are your patient, would you enjoy this space?
  3. Ditch the window. That’s right, I said it. That sliding glass window says, “We’ll decide when we want to speak to you”. Tweet this Kareo story
    Show that you’re there for them; be accessible and greet patients. Practices all over the country manage to do this without compromising privacy.
  4. Dump the sign-in. Yep, it’s gotta go. Your patients have an appointment and deserve your immediate attention. Furthermore, sign-in sheets compromise patient confidentiality.
  5. Provide ongoing patient experience training. If formal training is too ambitious for your practice, how about dedicating a quarterly lunch hour to the topic? Here are suggestions to make this successful.
    - Bring in an expert to tackle trouble areas or give a workshop
    - Facilitate staff discussions based on a patient experience book
    - Survey your patients—patient feedback provides a reality check and valuable insight to discuss and respond to

Implementing these strategies will give your practice an image boost, renewed staff pride, and strengthened patient loyalty, which can lead to increased visits, referrals and revenue! For more on how to plan for the coming year, register for the upcoming webinar Prepare for 2015: Make It a Best Practice Year.

About the Author

Cheryl Bisera photoCheryl Bisera is a consultant, author and speaker with extensive experience in marketing and business promotion that spans more than ten years in which she worked with professionals to strengthen their position in the marketplace. She is the founder of Cheryl Bisera Consulting, a California-based image development and marketing company that focuses on the healthcare industry and author of the book, The Patient-Centered Payoff. Cheryl has spoken for regional medical management organizations, conducted customer-service workshops, and written numerous articles for publications such as KevinMD, Physician Magazine, and the Journal of Medical Practice Management.

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