Providing excellent care used to be enough to build a successful healthcare practice. However, in order to attract new patients and maintain high patient retention, doctors and their staff must now provide high-quality, efficient service.
The journey from prospective patient to returning visitor is lengthy, beginning with an online search for a doctor and continuing after they leave their appointment. However, it is worthwhile for a practice to make every effort to ensure that each step is designed for patient comfort and convenience. In fact, 72 percent of patients say they would switch providers to get the patient experience they prefer. Prioritizing the patient experience can result in increased patient satisfaction and, as a result, increased patient retention.
1. Make a useful online presence.
Your online presence, which includes your healthcare website and local directory profiles, is your first point of contact with potential patients.
Your website is your online home base, and it reflects the overall brand of your practice. Make sure your website pages, such as the About Us, Service, and Contact pages, provide clear, consistent information to help patients understand what to expect from your practice. Display high-quality photos of your practice (both inside and out) so patients can get a sense of your brand before visiting. It's also a good idea to include testimonials from current patients, as this builds trust.
You'll also want to ensure that your practice is accurately represented anywhere else you appear online.Claim and update your profiles on important online business and healthcare directories with photos, location information, and hours of operation. Ensure that your profiles include a link to your website.
2. Provide online scheduling
Allow patients the freedom and convenience of booking appointments with your practice online. According to Kyruus, 43 percent of patients prefer to book appointments online, a figure that is increasing year after year. In a recent survey, more than 60% of patients said they preferred digital appointment booking options, whether through a browser, email, or text. Furthermore, 30 percent of patients said the ability to book an appointment online was the most important feature they wanted from their healthcare provider, followed by quality care.
3. Send confirmations and reminders for appointments.
Patients are extremely busy. Appointment confirmations and reminders can help them stay in touch with your practice. Automated reminders not only show patients that you value their time, but they also help you reduce costly no-shows.
The vast majority of patients prefer text messaging for practice outreach over other patient communication methods, particularly for appointment-related reminders. In fact, 66 percent of patients prefer to receive a text message reminder for an upcoming appointment. Furthermore, 59% of patients would like a text message reminder to schedule an upcoming appointment.
After patients have booked, send appointment confirmations via email or SMS/text, and then three days before the scheduled appointment, ask them to confirm. If a patient does not confirm their appointment, send a reminder the day before and even an hour before.
4. Make documentation available on your website.Reduce the amount of time patients spend in your waiting room by allowing them to view and fill out intake forms prior to their visit. More than 60% of patients prefer to fill out registration and other forms digitally. Patients can fill out the necessary paperwork when it is convenient for them, rather than rushing through it before an appointment.
5. Instruct front-desk personnel to be friendly and helpful.
It is critical to provide a positive experience during a patient's visit in order to keep them coming back. The front office staff's warm, welcoming attitude helps set the tone from the moment your patients walk in the door. Aside from quality care, about half of patients say they want a welcoming staff from their healthcare provider. Simple gestures like saying hello, smiling, and being friendly during the check-in process are frequently all that is required to get the visit started on the right foot.
There are numerous factors that contribute to a positive patient experience. Taking the necessary steps to provide a positive experience for your patients will help increase patient satisfaction, which will lead to higher patient retention and a greater number of positive online reviews.