No matter how advanced medical tools and treatments become, human interactions will continue to play an integral role in healthcare. Patients will still need real people to provide eye exams, at-home care, mental health services and everything in between. Technology can make these things more accessible and easier to manage, but it can’t replace personal care.
This doesn’t mean patient care will continue to be what it always has been, though. As new advancements make the role of medical professionals more efficient, it becomes the responsibility of providers to offer more than basic medical services. They now have to focus on enhancing the patient experience in every step of the care cycle.
Here are four things you can start doing within your organization to take the patient experience to the next level.
1. Treat people, not medical conditions
As much as patients want to find solutions to their medical problems, they also want to feel heard and empowered whenever they seek treatment. They’re taking ownership of their healing process, not looking for a band-aid solution.
This means your staff needs to make more time to listen and express genuine concern. Try to explain conditions and treatments a little more in-depth than you normally do and make it a point to show interest in patients beyond their health. Talk to them about their families and their hobbies. Remember their birthday and congratulate them on life accomplishments they may mention. Strive to be a friend and a medical professional, not just a signature on a prescription.
2. Give patients the maximum value for their healthcare dollars
Patients can Google one-size-fits-all answers. They’ve become accustomed to self-assessing their conditions and even treating certain health issues on their own without seeking any professional treatment.
When they do make a medical appointment, they’re looking for in-depth information. They want to know how to prevent the issue they’re currently dealing with from happening again. They want to get to the root of a problem to stay out of the doctor’s office as long as possible.
This may sound like it’s bad for business, but it would actually do you well to adjust to this shift in patient mentality. It can create better brand value and recognition for your organization and lead to more patient recommendations. And since more people are researching different providers before they make an appointment, it’s in your best interest to make a good name for yourself by going above and beyond standard care practices.
Such a strategy will help you capture new patients as they shop around for medical care and keep current ones coming back when they need more than at-home treatment.
3. Simplify patient payments
Patients have enough trouble understanding their insurance coverage; they don’t need to experience more financial stress when paying the fees they’re responsible for. Thankfully, you can make this payment process much easier on them by offering online bill pay options, like ABILITY SECUREPAY™. Instead of limiting patient payments to cash or check only, online methods give healthcare consumers the access they need to stay on top of payments. They allow people to conveniently pay for their medical services via a simple, easy-to-use portal. They also provide the option to save credit/debit card information for future payments and set up automatic payments.
4. Continue the conversation
Whether your patients come in regularly, every few months or sporadically, you should be continuing the conversation with them beyond one visit. Specifically, focus on providing better post-visit instructions in terms of medications to take and suggested lifestyle changes.
You can also use post-visit interactions to gain insight from your patients about what you can do better. A simple survey asking patients to rate your performance and provide feedback can do wonders for your organization. It helps you understand their needs/desires at a deeper level and catch things that may have slipped through the cracks in your workflow or staff training.
At the end of the day, the more you put into the patient experience, the more your organization benefits. It’s time to change the way you think about your duties as a medical provider and go beyond what you’ve ever done before.