The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed in 2010 and has changed the spectrum of healthcare in the US by shedding light on the importance of accessible and patient-centered care and that healthcare providers should emphasize on enhancing patient experience. Many studies show that patient experience positively correlates with better healthcare outcomes and staff satisfaction. Improving patient experience can also benefit healthcare providers from an economic perspective when resources are used more efficiently, along with a decrease in turnovers, reimbursements, and penalties.
How Healthcare Providers Can Improve the Patient Experience
1. Simplify appointment scheduling
Make it simple for new and existing patients to connect to your clinic or hospital and allow them to easily book an appointment online. Enabling patients to schedule appointments directly from their phone or computer and select a time that fits their availability helps to improve the patient experience by giving patients more control and flexibility. Simplifying the appointment scheduling process for patients encourages them to reach out and attain help for their alignments much sooner, which can help prevent complications and prolonged discomfort.
One of the best ways to create a good work environment for healthcare staff is to keep them informed, spread out the workload to minimize stressful peak hours, and ensure they are provided with needed resources. Putting effort into creating a good work environment and the benefits of it are happier staff and decreased turnover and burnout.
A patient appointment system can help automate administrative tasks and make the appointment booking process more efficient, reducing the workload on staff and enabling them to focus on patient care.
3. Reduce actual and perceived waiting times
Actively reducing patients' actual wait time is a great way to enhance the overall patient experience since long waiting times are well known to impact patient experience negatively. By optimizing the use and allocation of resources and gaining more control over the patient flow, healthcare providers can decrease the actual waiting time for patients. Combining this with frequent updates about when patients will be able to see a physician and having interactive waiting room solutions can help reduce the perceived waiting time for patients. Working on reducing both actual and perceived waiting time will have a more impactful effect and lead to better results.
There are a few ways to reduce actual and perceived waiting times:
Technical solutions like patient appointment systems, digital signage, and media displays throughout the office go a long way to prevent confusion and reduce perceived waiting times. Not knowing when it’s your turn or how long you need to wait makes the perceived wait time longer.
The benefit of clear communication limits the unknown and reduces the patients’ perceived wait time, which helps improve the patient experience. For example, displays can be used to let patients know their position in line, how they should be prepared for their visit, or even how to validate their parking.
5. Survey customers about their visit
Allowing each patient to answer a simple survey in the office environment or online not only makes them feel valued, but also generates important data about the patient experience. The collected patient experience data is useful for analyzing which procedures and segments inthe patient journey support a good experienceand where improvements can be made to enhance patients’ interactions throughout their visit. The benefit of using patient feedback solutions is that they help healthcare providers remain consistently aware of how to cultivate the best possible care environment to enhance patient experience.
6. Follow up with the patient post-visit
Patient contact shouldn’t stop after they leave the facility. Top-quality care involves ongoing communication. By reaching out to patients after the visit, caregivers show attentiveness and build relationships that keep patients coming back.