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This article is for you if…
- a) You currently run a healthcare practice.
- b) You are thinking about getting into the healthcare business.
- c) You are an advocate for change in the field of healthcare, be that as a patient or as a professional.
Improvements can always be made within the patient experience, and these include the following suggestions.
#1: Make good hiring decisions
Many of us have been on the receiving end of an ill-tempered or unwelcoming receptionist. There have been cases of negligence or misjudgment with regards to the treatment offered by healthcare professionals. For the sake of the patient then, it is important to avoid bad hiring decisions. By hiring receptionists proficient in excellent customer service, and by hiring fully qualified and experienced medical professionals, the patient will feel as if they are in safe hands within the healthcare practice they are attending.
#2: Make the patients lives easier
We aren’t talking about this in a medical or any other health-related sense, as that, of course, should be a no-brainer. Rather, we are talking about making patients lives easier on a practical level. This includes the opportunity to make and cancel appointments online. It could include cutting down pharmacy waiting times by offering prepackaged medication and prescriptions within the practice itself. And it might include the offer of home visits, so the patient doesn’t have to drag themselves out of their sick bed to meet an appointment.
#3: Improve the look and feel of the practice
First impressions are everything, so if a practice falls short in any way, this might cause the patient to switch to another source of healthcare. On a very basic level, there should be comfortable and plentiful seating in the waiting area. Aesthetically, the wall and decor colors should be warm and comforting. Relaxing music in the background might calm a patient’s nerves, alongside other features, such as a fish tank or reading materials to distract their nervous minds. Refreshments could be made available, especially if there is a chance of long waiting times. And there should be plenty of signage, so the patient can easily get to where they need to be, be that to the toilet, the waiting room, or the office of their healthcare professional.
#4: Improve communication
As suggested, the option to make and cancel appointments online is a useful one, not least because it cuts out time spent trying to do the same thing on the phone. Setting up a website then is a must for any healthcare practice. This might include a live chat option online to deal with any patient queries, as well as a FAQ page to answer questions without the need for further communication. Healthcare professionals might also consider outsourcing their call centre, as again, this will reduce wait times on the phone; a godsend for anybody sick of listening to the piped music coming from the other end of the telephone!
These are just a few suggestions into how healthcare professionals can improve the patient experience. Should you work in this field, then it is worth heeding our suggestions, so as to keep your patients on your side. And if you’re a patient (which you invariably will be at some point in your life), it is worth considering what we have said in relation to the feedback you might give your practice.
Let us know what you think, and if you have any other suggestions, be sure to let us know.