Five Principles: Follow These to Improve Patient Experience

Clearstep Media
Clearstep Team

The patient experience is the backbone of your business. Your primary clientele deserves to feel comfortable and accommodated on their medical journey. If they don’t, they will lose trust and confidence in your organization.

Healthcare businesses are focusing on patient satisfaction more than ever. According to Dr. Rashid Al-Abri, MD, FRCS, healthcare organizations are using patient satisfaction surveys to help improve quality of care for patients. Because of this, the healthcare industry overall has made significant improvements over the past twenty years.  

When you ask yourself how you can show up for your patients, and take a proactive approach to make it happen, you automatically set better outcomes into motion. 

We have a solid starting point for your next marketing strategy. Keep reading to learn about the core concept of patient experience and five principles on how to improve this aspect of healthcare.

Communication technology is improving rapidly. We’re Clearstep, a healthcare innovator to help the medical industry better connect with their clients and patients.

What is Patient Experience?

Patient experience measures how well healthcare providers and organizations deliver care to patients to meet their needs. It encompasses all aspects of their journey, from the initial contact with a healthcare provider through the discharge from care. 

The term “patient experience” is often used interchangeably with “customer experience,” but there are some important differences between the two. Patient experience is primarily focused on improving clinical outcomes, while customer experience is focused on the overall satisfaction of the customer. 

Patient experience really hones in on the emotions and perceptions of the patient, while customer experience is more holistic. As healthcare delivery becomes increasingly complex, the importance of patient experience has become the center of attention. By better understanding and addressing the needs of patients, your organization can improve health outcomes and deliver better value for the money.  

That means, everything from their check-ups to clear communications to managing their paperwork adds up to their overall experience. With that in mind, we will discuss the five principles to follow to improve patient experience within your organization.

Principle #1: Your Patients Are Consumers

When recent market figures value the American healthcare industry at $2,709 billion, it’s time to step up your strategy. With the rise of the internet and social media, patients are turning to the web for information about their health. In fact, a recent study found that 89% of patients research their symptoms online before seeking medical care. 

Patients are also using the internet to compare doctors and hospitals, and to find reviews from other patients. This new landscape presents both challenges and opportunities for healthcare organizations. If you think about it, patients now have more power to choose where they receive care, and they are less likely to blindly accept a doctor's recommendations.

This increased transparency gives healthcare organizations an opportunity to connect with potential patients and build trust by sharing accurate and timely information. In order to meet the needs of today's patients, it is essential  to understand that they are consumers. By understanding how consumers make decisions, your organization can identify ways to improve the patient experience and build long-term relationships.

Principle #2: Patients Want More Technology

Patients don’t want to do things “the way they’ve always been done.” They want healthcare that’s more efficient, affordable, and relevant to their needs.

Today’s technology has made it faster than ever to get an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment. If you are wondering, what kinds of technology are patients looking for in their healthcare journey? We have a few ideas for you to consider:

AI Chat for Simple Inquiries 

Long call times are a pain point for patients. Instead of having your patient wait hours for a simple answer, consider AI chat for everyday inquiries. 

Chatbots are designed to answer common questions using keywords and sentiment analysis. They can even target frustration and redirect a patient to a live person when necessary. 

By providing around-the-clock support, chatbots can help patients with everything from booking appointments and requesting prescription refills to finding health information and answering general questions. They can also provide personalized recommendations and suggestions based on each individual's needs. As a result, AI chatbots have the potential to greatly improve patient satisfaction and health outcomes.

Virtual Health (or Telehealth)

Does every healthcare check-up, question, or prescription need to be done in-person? Absolutely not! Virtual health (also known as telehealth) has bridged the gap between patient and provider like never before.

Telehealth is any healthcare interaction done through electronic and telecommunication channels. These channels include:

  • Webcam
  • Phone
  • AI Chat
  • Text messaging

Virtual health can improve access to care, particularly for patients in underserved or remote areas. By eliminating the need for patients to travel to see a doctor, virtual health can make it easier for them to get the care they need. Virtual health can also improve the quality of care by allowing doctors to consult with specialists from around the world and by providing patients with easy access to their medical records. 

Finally, virtual health can lower costs by reducing the need for expensive hospital stays and office visits. In summary, this technology holds great promise for improving the delivery of healthcare.
Related: What roles do APPs play in healthcare and why? Read our thoughts on the matter here!

Principle #3: You Must Determine Performance Standards & Values

Performance standards and values are the foundation of any successful organization, particularly those in the healthcare industry. By setting and adhering to high standards, healthcare organizations can ensure that patients receive the best possible care and experience. 

There are  several  ways to determine performance standards and values. One method is to survey patients and ask for their feedback. Another is to benchmark against similar organizations. Once performance standards and values have been determined, they need to be communicated to all staff members and embedded into organizational culture. Only then can they truly make a difference to the patient experience.

Related: How is patient care like Tinder? Check out why we’ve made the comparison here.

Principle #4: Reduce Administrative Red Tape

Every year, billions of dollars are wasted in the healthcare industry on bureaucratic red tape. This paperwork not only adds to the cost of care, but it also contributes to longer wait times and poor patient experiences. Patients who had to sort through excessive amounts of red tape were more likely to rate their care as poor.

So how can you reduce administrative red tape and improve patient experience for your organization? One way is to streamline the check-in process. Instead of making patients fill out multiple forms, have them complete one digital form that can be accessed by all staff members. This will save time and reduce the chance of errors. 

Another way to reduce red tape is to invest in quality management software. This type of software can help you track errors and duplication, allowing you to quickly fix problems. Finally, take the time to ensure your staff is properly trained on how to use any new systems or processes. Education is a critical ongoing process, not a one and done event. 

 By taking these steps, you can help reduce administrative red tape and improve patient experience.

Step #5: Compassion is a Part of Your Service

Compassion isn’t quantified by numbers. This vital philosophy is the bedrock of a medical business that transforms people’s lives.

Your business value should be rooted in transparency, consistency, and integrity. When patients today are more frustrated than ever with their healthcare, you have the chance to speak to them on a personal level.

In fact, research has shown that patients who receive compassionate care have better health outcomes and are more likely to be satisfied with their care. They also tend to be more loyal to their healthcare provider and are less likely to switch providers.

Your organization can use compassion to improve patient experience in a number of ways. One way is by ensuring that staff members are trained in compassionate care. This involves training staff members how to properly communicate with patients and to show empathy.

 Another way is by making sure that the organization as a whole is focused on providing compassionate care. This means creating an environment where patients feel respected and valued at every touch point, and their needs are truly being met. When healthcare organizations focus on providing compassionate care, they can greatly improve patient experience and create a more positive environment for everyone involved.

Improve Patient Experience to Grow Your Organization

The growth of your organization relies on positive word-of-mouth. While award-winning technology is a great place to start, people still won’t visit if their friends, family or patient reviews tell them not to.

That is why improving the patient experience should be a top priority for your organization. By following these five principles, you can enhance their experience and grow your business. Have you tried any of these methods to improve your patients’ experiences? If yes, let us know how they worked out for you, so we can brainstorm strategies to take it to the next level.

Related: How has the pandemic shifted virtual care needs? We have some insight on the matter.

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