Aug 26, 2019 by Kaeli Lindholm
Consumer expectations are evolving as on-demand services such as Uber & and Airbnb continue raising the standard for high-quality, personalized, experiences and guess what? The medical industry is no exception! In fact, if JLo unexpectedly walked into your practice, how would she rate her experience?
According to Forrester Research, 72 percent of businesses say improving their own customer experience to meet that standard is their top priority, yet the Beryl Institute reports that only 43 percent of doctors consider improving patient experience a priority at all.
The truth is that consumers already demand a better experience from nearly every organization they do business with. Between archaic websites, poor communication and confusing processes, many patients get so frustrated with the experience that they switch doctors.
In fact, studies show that 67 percent of consumers have taken their business elsewhere due to poor experiences with a company, and people are more likely to change doctors than they are to switch airlines as a result of a bad experience. Patients are gradually realizing that, as consumers of healthcare, they have the right to demand the same good experience and personalized service from their doctors and healthcare systems.
Here are a five areas of focus that exceptional practices focus on to create a raving, loyal patient following:
1. Convenience- Use technology to your favor. Make it easy to schedule an appointment. Be available. 2019 technology (all about convenience) get a HIPPA compliant patient app. Make reminder calls for appointments at least 24 hours beforehand
2. Communication– Patients often communicate with 2-4 different people through the course of a single visit. From scheduling to check-in, rooming, provider, checkout- these could involve a handful of different conversations. Have a system in place for communicating patient concerns & goals so the patient doesn’t become frustrated having to repeat themselves. Survey patients to learn how the practice can improve. Read your reviews, if you get a 5 star review saying “Dr Smith really took the extra time to listen and understand my needs”, then do more of that. Take the time!
3. Personalization- Hand written note for new consults, Patient intake forms available before coming to office (ideally electronic). Know their interests ahead of time and prepare a swag bag with products and information related to their interests before they leave. At arrival- Know your patient before they come in. Address patient by their name, smile, provide a clean waiting room and a well-groomed staff. Perfect the question, “How are you today? Rather than shoving a clip board in their face. Drinks- Nespresso, real mugs. Stay off cell phones
4. Comfort- Furnish the waiting room with comfortable chairs, Robe warmers & fancy blankets are an added bonus. Pay attention to temperature and music. When rooming patients, run on time, room them quickly. Have a system in place to let the provider know patient is roomed. Perfect the Consultation- use the patients name when walking in the room, shake hands and sit eye level, take the time you need to understand your patient. One of the 7 Habits of 7 Figure MDs is having a high EQ. Read your patient and respond to their vibe that day. If they bring a family member with them, talk to them too! Learn how their perspective impacts others
5. Follow-up- The end of their experience can be just as important as the check-in. At check out, ask how their treatment was. Book next appointment before collecting payment, and if appropriate provide a cash tip for their valet parking. Make a phone call to follow-up with all first time patients and any filler patients or laser patients (MD or NP should follow-up directly with surgical patients)
Given the competitive landscape and the impact on quality of care, improving patient experience should be a central part of any practice’s long-term strategic plan. When done correctly, improving patient experiences will also correlate to providing patients with better outcomes!
Kaeli is an Aesthetic Business Results Strategist focused on helping aesthetic physicians build 7-figure practices by implementing fortune-500 business tools and processes combined with Neiman Marcus level customer service experience.
Her scope of work has encompassed executive management and consulting roles with several of the world’s top aesthetic device manufacturers and global fortune 500 pharmaceutical companies. Kaeli served as Managing Director of a leading plastic surgery and wellness institute where she tested and refined her proven strategies firsthand. She is an expert at identifying what it takes to align business with human and capital resources to stimulate competitive and innovative growth.