In the healthcare industry, how customers feel about you plays a direct role in determining the success of your business. Patient experience directly impacts your reputation, brand awareness, profitability, and more.
However, clinics and hospitals continue to face challenges in resource management, improving customer experience, and more, impacting overall experience.
In this blog post, we explore how businesses in the healthcare industry can improve patient experience with actionable steps.
Table of contents
What is patient experience?
Patient experience is a facet of customer experience that consists of the complete range of interactions that patients face with your healthcare business.
It is more than just medical treatment; this patient perspective and experience takes every touchpoint into account, from initial communication to post-treatment follow-ups.
A positive patient experience is achievable and can be maximized when healthcare professionals prioritize active patient participation, comprehensive and culturally competent care, safety best practices, and healthy living support.
When these components unite seamlessly, they pave the way for a positive patient experience and overall patient satisfaction. A holistic view of a patient’s interaction with the entire healthcare system can help refine your efforts, ensuring maximum satisfaction.
What are the factors affecting patient experience?
Patients and healthcare consumers experience various touchpoints, administrative procedures, and diagnostic procedures for every health-related requirement.
Some important factors that impact patient experience are:
- Communication: Boost patient satisfaction by enabling them to voice their needs, instantly communicate them, and fully comprehend healthcare professionals’ advice.
- Accessibility: Easy and prompt access to health services, including appointment-setting and specialist referrals, is instrumental to patient satisfaction.
- Empathy: The patient experience improves significantly when healthcare professionals provide compassionate care from the patient’s perspective.
- Respect: Defending the dignity of every patient, irrespective of their race, gender, religion, or sexuality, is mission-critical.
- Quality and patient safety: The standard of care you provide, including efforts enforcing patient safety, significantly impacts the patient experience.
- Engagement: Actively involving patients in their care and decision-making processes enhances patient safety and satisfaction.
- Education: Informing patients about preventive measures and treatment options allows them to make well-informed decisions about their health and boosts overall experience.
Why is positive patient experience important?
Overall, for a healthcare provider, focusing on the overall experience of their patient has the following benefits:
- Improves reputation
- Guarantees patient satisfaction
- Assures better outcomes
- Helps business grow
- Improves the brand’s status
In a recent study, 76% of surveyed Americans mentioned they have not had a positive patient experience in the past few months. This is a considerable number showing the strain on healthcare systems.
However, 61% of patients who had a positive experience agreed to continue with the same healthcare provider. Also, 44% of patients with a positive experience agreed that they would spread the word about the service provider.
Healthcare providers must focus on patient experiences and its impact on reputation management because:
- In the current digital landscape, consumers instantly post their experiences online after interacting with a business. This is no different when it comes to patients.
- Even if the healthcare service provider delivered the best medical care, an overall negative patient experience will motivate them toward a negative review.
- A stronger online reputation also means the patient trusts you more, translating to higher satisfaction levels.
Guarantees patient satisfaction
Patient satisfaction is quite different from patient experience. While measuring patient satisfaction, businesses tend to focus only on the outcome, while patient experience takes care of the process of how they got there.
However, the reality is that healthcare providers cannot consistently achieve patient satisfaction if they do not focus on the overall experience.
By only focusing on the outcome-related metrics, businesses would be only putting out fires without having a way to avoid them altogether.
Assures better outcomes
Subscribe to a commitment to quality patient care substantiated through extensive healthcare research.
Studies draw a positive correlation between patient satisfaction and success in heart attack treatments. And additional primary care data demonstrates similar outcomes. The better the patient experience, the higher the survival rate, as it builds trust in the provider-patient relationship.
It is also true that the healthcare system benefits when the focus is on patient well-being and active engagement, highlighting the essential role of patients in shaping their healthcare journeys.
Helps business grow
The connection between patient experience and healthcare business success is a relationship that’s becoming increasingly crucial. Developing superior experiences for patients helps businesses by
Lowering legal risks
Patients who feel they’re getting high-quality care and individual attention are less likely to take legal action. A business with a more substantial reputation is also more likely to get the benefit of the doubt from patients, where they become open to dialogue and resolution instead of lawsuits.
A happier workplace
Your medical staff already faces challenging workplace dynamics. But when your patients are satisfied, this can positively impact your work environment. And when your teams see they’re making a difference in patients’ lives, job satisfaction improves, as well.
Improving the brand’s status
Healthcare providers consistently providing a positive experience and building a patient-centric culture are at a competitive advantage. A high volume of positive reviews, referrals, and social media mentions position them as the industry leader. This allows providers to charge a premium, specialize in their niche, and grow faster.
How to provide a positive patient experience
Healthcare providers can improve the experience their patients have while interacting with them by implementing a few simple steps:
- Streamlined communication
- Seamless appointment systems
- Timely responses
- Minimized paperwork
- Investment in consumer experience
- Improved payment options
- HIPAA compliance measures
- Data security and management
Customer experience in every industry starts with communication, and the healthcare industry is no exception. You must have clear and easy-to-use communication channels for patients to contact you.
Healthcare businesses must ensure that customers can easily access the doctors, the receptionist to book appointments, and support staff to clarify queries. Responding to these queries swiftly and accurately also profoundly impacts patient experience.
Working with an AI-driven solution like Birdeye that enables your healthcare business to integrate various communication channels into a unified inbox can help you see effective results.
Seamless appointment systems
Healthcare appointments are often time-sensitive and require delicate handling. In times of need, if patients can’t find a way to book appointments, reschedule, or leave special instructions, they would be extremely disappointed.
Work with appointment solutions like Birdeye Appointments that enable healthcare businesses like dental clinics, hospitals, and more to make appointments easy for customers.
You can also use these tools to reduce wait times, avoid overbooking, communicate delays, and inform customers of any other requirements.
Most medical procedures need follow-ups for them to be completely effective. However, the burden of keeping up those appointments often lies with the patients, adding stress to an already stressful process.
Healthcare businesses can improve patient satisfaction by booking recurring appointments and sending appointment reminders via text, messaging services, or email.
Automating follow-ups improves overall outcomes, making patients feel happy about their experience with the clinics.
Simply put, when patients see their healthcare providers responding swiftly to their worries, they feel valued and in good hands.
But this is not just for the in-person appointments. This extends to reviews, web chat messages, social media messages, messages sent while booking appointments, and all forms of communication.
It is important that your business provides 24/7 availability to your patients and makes them feel valued with timely responses.
For growing businesses, AI-driven solutions like Birdeye Messaging help send templated responses to customers when human agents are not available.
Minimizing paperwork is more than administrative efficiency. Reducing physical forms and streamlining procedures is a welcome improvement from the patient’s perspective, too. It allows them to focus more on their healthcare rather than being bogged down by tedious and often confusing documentation.
Devise detailed and precise intake forms that patients can fill during the appointment booking process itself. Birdeye appointments integrate with 300+ systems so that you can store this information and use it wherever necessary. This way, your patients would never have to repeat any information.
Investment in consumer experience
Investing in consumer experience is good business and central to positive patient care. Tune into what patients need and want and build trust through better communication and personalized attention.
This includes monitoring the experience of patients right from the first interaction to the last, and understanding what you can do to improve it.
Improved payment options
Your healthcare organization should focus on data accessibility, integrating technology, and promoting accountability throughout the payment process.
Often, patients struggle to book certain types of appointments with providers as the insurance information is not integrated at the booking stage. You must allow flexibility to your patients and offer them improved payment processes so that they can seek treatment easily.
HIPAA compliance measures
Healthcare providers should also be transparent about safeguarding patient data relating to HIPAA compliance and data sharing. This trust gives your patients peace of mind, knowing that their most sensitive information is treated with the highest confidentiality.
Make sure that your team is aware of the HIPAA rules and inform patients that they operate within the framework.
Data security and management
Data security and management in healthcare are essential to building patient trust. By protecting sensitive information and handling it with care internally, providers reassure patients that their personal health details are safe.
Use tools like Birdeye that offer the best data security and management features so you can trust them on behalf of your patients.
FAQs about patient experience
Patient satisfaction measures how a patient’s expectations are met. Patient experience, alternatively, encompasses all interactions with the healthcare system and staff.
Healthcare providers should focus on every patient touchpoint and leverage strategies to enforce positive interactions and create positive patient experiences.
Patient experience is mission-critical to a healthcare organization because it enhances care quality, patient loyalty, and patient satisfaction, leading to better health outcomes.
The four pillars of patient experience are respect, communication, collaboration, and empathy.
Boost patient experience in healthcare with Birdeye
If you’re exploring new and proven ways to enhance the patient experience, consider Birdeye. Our platform provides tools for better visibility, choice, and service quality. From fixing listings and providing Webchat to automating review requests and improving reputation management steps, Birdeye offers comprehensive solutions that help you grow your business while ensuring patient satisfaction.