Americans only visit their doctor on average about 4 times a year.
In Germany, they visit their doctor about 9 times, and in Japan, they visit their doctor 13 times a year. So why the big difference?
While you might think it’s high health care costs, that’s only part of the problem. A deeper issue is that patients are afraid of having bad doctor experiences. Luckily by learning how to improve patient experience, you’ll be able to attract new patients like never before.
Are you ready to grow your medical practice with happy, loyal patients? Then you’re in the right place!
Read on to learn how to make a patient’s experience better every time they visit you.
Table of Contents
1. Improving Patient Experience in the Waiting Room
Learning how to create a welcoming atmosphere is the first step in learning how to improve patient experience. The second patient’s walk into your practice, what do they see?
Are they greeted by warm, welcoming colors and furniture that matches? Or does your waiting room look cold and clinical?
While medical practices have traditionally had a more sterile-looking environment, you don’t have to fall into this pattern. Cold clinical atmospheres make it hard for patients to let their guard down.
Instead, switch things up by making your medical practice as modern and aesthetic as you like! For instance, you can pick a warm color scheme and then have your flooring, furniture, paint, and decor match it.
Moving on, you can add televisions and a coffee machine to help keep your patients loyal. If you don’t like the idea of adding in televisions, have some light music playing in the background. Finally, spread out a few air diffusers that have a comforting scent like baked apple pie or fresh linens.
2. How to Make Patients Feel Comfortable
It won’t matter if your office has a color scheme if you don’t keep things tidy. A messy doctor’s office can make patients worry that they’re not in caring hands.
After all, if the office is messy, what does that say about the quality of care? To help patients feel confident about having you as their healthcare provider you’ll need to keep everything in order.
Start by assessing the orderliness of your waiting room. Are all of the magazines neatly stacked? If there’s a child’s play area are the toys all put up when they’re not in use?
Finally, make sure everything is nice and clean. On top of being hygienic, clean spaces tend to help people feel safer than messy ones.
3. Care About Timeliness
Being a patient means waiting all the time. Waiting for someone to answer the phone, waiting for their appointment date, waiting in the waiting room, you get the idea.
If you want to know how to improve patient experience, you have to care about timeliness. Show patients that you’re committed to empowering them on their health care journey. You can start by keeping wait times on the phone for less than 30 seconds.
Emails also need a fast turn around time if you want to keep your patients happy. A good rule of thumb is that emails should get a reply within 24 hours.
Finally, assess your check-in process. Are patients able to quickly check-in and find out how long they’ll be waiting for?
If not, you should look into getting a management system to assist with check-ins. A management system can speed things up at check-in while also helping your wait times.
4. Empathize and Paraphrase
A great way to show you care is by paraphrasing what the patient tells you back to them. For instance, let’s say a patient comes in and has a new pain they’re worried about.
After they explain what the pain feels like and when it began, you may be ready to jump in with more questions or perhaps even a possible diagnosis. However, before you say anything to move the conversation forward, you should first express empathy.
Next, repeat what the patient said back to them in your own words to confirm you understand. You may sound something like this:
“I’m sorry you’re going through this. If I understand you correctly, you’re experiencing a stabbing pain in your shoulder that began 1 week ago, is that right?”.
By empathizing and paraphrasing you’ll establish clear lines of communication.
5. Have a User-Friendly Website
Similar to how the waiting room is the first impression patients get of your practice, so is your website. When a patient goes onto your practice’s website, the home page should reflect what you’re all about. If you want patients to think of your practice as being friendly and efficient, your website has to deliver those qualities.
Here are a few factors of a good website:
- Fast speeds
- In-depth information
- Intuitive navigation
- Carefully selected colors
- Mobile-friendly layout
- Straightforward contact page
Fast web speeds are crucial if you want to encourage patient interactions online. Next, make sure the patient is easily able to locate the information they need. You can do this by limiting the number of categories you have in your site’s navigation bar.
You can also help your patients learn about health care innovations, like dermatherapy. Simply provide links to relevant medical articles on your website. However, make sure every source you link to is a reputable one in the health care world.
6. Digital Paperwork
What’s the fastest way to upset your patients? Ask them to repeat the same information over and over! There’s nothing more frustrating to patients than feeling as if they’re wasting their time.
Instead of having patients fill out their contact information over and over, consider switching to a digital system. A digital system can pre-save information like your patient’s name or date of birth.
Enjoy Knowing How to Improve Patient Experience
There you have it! 6 recommendations on how to improve patient experience at your practice. We hope that you’ll be able to use at least 1 of our methods to make your patients happy. For more ways to thrive, check out the rest of this site.