The Patient Experience

Oftentimes, as physicians, we contemplate the inner workings of our own practices. Amongst all the chaos and office processes, I find myself contemplating my own patient’s experiences. I wonder what it would be like to call into my office or to sign in for an office visit. I think of my whole team, the unique personalities of each member, and how they work together to deliver the best customer service. The patient experience is vital if we as physicians are looking to grow a practice or even remain in business! Give it a thought. Would you return a call in response to an unfriendly message, or would you return to an office that didn’t appear to genuinely care about your wellbeing? Chances are, you certainly would not. 

A higher level of patient satisfaction will almost guarantee return visits, positive feedback, and increased referrals. The Happy, satisfied patients return for their quarterly visits and tend to be more engaged in their care. This level of care will improve the chances that they will refer their neighbors, friends, and loved ones. Today, a patient has a broad range of choices as to where they want to entrust their physical health. They are educated consumers and have the choice of changing providers if their needs are not being met. 

What can providers do to enhance the patient experience? How can you personally ensure an appropriate level of care is being provided to every patient, on every phone call, or with every personal greeting? How can providers demonstrate to themselves and to others that this is important to them and to their practice? View your patients as customers, examine your attitude and beliefs in regard to patients, and demonstrate reliability and respect to all. Here are three things that you can do now to help your patients to receive the best experience.

First, Identify how you see patients. Do you and your staff view them as “Patients” or do you view them as “Customers”? What would be the difference if you shifted away from the word “Patient” and started viewing them instead as “Customers”? What if you educated your staff to understand and to do the same?

Second, examine your own attitude and internal beliefs regarding the patient. How do these affect the way you might interact with each patient and how might your own stressors be affecting the way you communicate with others or demonstrate empathy in the examination room? Your choices and attitudes affect all working relationships and should directly coincide with your expectations.

Third, there’s reliability and respect. What are you doing in your practice that would enable others to know that you can be trusted with their care and that you’re reliable? How do others know that you respect them and that you’re appreciative of their business or assistance so that you may fulfill your own destiny and personal endeavors? 

I look forward to your feedback and hope you’ll leave a comment in the box below.

Check out my PRACTICE: IMPOSSIBLE Podcast episode on patient experience.



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