The healthcare industry is starting to move from products and services to solutions. This is a dramatic change, considering the industry heavily relied on manual labor, equipment, and hardware. Hospitals started investing in various technologies to improve their processes and provide better patient care.
Remote monitoring tools, self-service kiosks, online patient portal services, telemedicine, and personal emergency response systems make clinical services more accessible for patients, especially those with limited mobility. But on top of delivering quality patient care, these technological advancements are aimed at improving the patient experience.
The Importance of Patient Experience
Hospitals, clinics, and insurance providers have started investing in healthcare marketing to position themselves as the superior option. This helps you acquire new patients and retain old ones, increasing your revenues. Part of healthcare marketing is the promise of excellent patient experience. This means showing your care and concern for the patient beyond the routine check-ups and necessary treatments to increase their satisfaction with your overall service.
Patient experience spans from the moment they discover your healthcare firm, getting the service or treatment they need, and finally, to leaving the doors of your hospital. It includes every task and process related to healthcare delivery, from scheduling appointments and waiting in the clinic, to getting lab and test results and communicating with medical professionals.
Understanding patient experience is the first step in establishing patient-oriented care. By looking at the various aspects of patient experience, you’ll see the extent of care you provide and determine if it’s enough to address their every need and concern as they journey toward better health.
Additionally, a positive patient experience also helps improve clinical outcomes. A study by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions reveals hospitals with higher experience ratings have better scores for process of care quality and some clinical outcomes.
For example, diabetic patients exhibit an improved disease management, demonstrating greater self-care and self-management after having pleasant interactions with their healthcare providers. Patients with chronic conditions develop stronger commitment to their medical treatment plans, which is essential for achieving positive results.
Apart from delivering patient-oriented care, a great patient experience also provides business benefits to healthcare facilities. It can increase patient loyalty and improve your reputation, potentially raising your revenues.
- Boost patient loyalty
Patients change or remain with their healthcare providers depending on their experience. They are five times more likely to choose a medical professional they’ve had a pleasant experience with compared to a practice that has a strong marketing strategy.
As with any industry, positive experience inspires trust and creates meaningful relationships with your market. As consumers, people make choices based on where they are treated well and where they can get the highest quality experience.
In short, providing an excellent, seamless patient experience shows them you know best how to care for them. This convinces your one-time patients to choose your practice again when they need medical attention, giving you a solid customer base.
Apart from increasing patient retention, loyalty drives people to share their positive experience with their family and friends. When their peers are looking for suggestions regarding healthcare providers, your loyal patients are likely to recommend you because they’re confident in your care.
- Improve reputation in the community
Healthcare facilities are strongly tied to their location since people see these establishments as fundamental parts of their communities. When word spreads about your superior patient experience, you start building a positive reputation in the neighborhood you serve. This strengthens your foothold in your area as well as in the medical community.
Word-of-mouth reviews of your service and patient experience contribute to your marketing efforts. Once you’ve gained a reputable image in your community, patients will start coming to you willingly because they believe they’ll get the care they need and experience they demand from your facility.
Some patients rate healthcare organizations and even medical professionals on digital databases. These reviews are important especially since many people research providers online before making a decision.
According to the Customer Experience Trends in Healthcare 2018 study of Doctor.com, 81 percent of patients conduct online research on healthcare providers referred to them. And 90 percent of these people are likely to choose a different provider if they don’t like what they see online. Positive online reviews of your care can help you acquire more new patients.
- Increase revenues
Establishing an efficient patient experience may require a sizeable initial payout, especially if you’re investing in healthcare technologies. But once you’ve gained the trust of your community and acquire a good number of loyal patients, you’ll develop a solid customer base, which may increase your sales.
Plus, research shows that patients with a high satisfaction on the care and experience they received are less likely to be readmitted. The decreased number of readmitted patients can increase a hospital’s bottom line since the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program reduces payments to healthcare firms with excess readmissions.
Patient experience consists of all aspects that comprise one’s overall encounter with a healthcare provider. Although details, such as waiting times and appointment scheduling, may seem inconsequential when it comes to delivering medical services, these still significantly affect the extent your care.
Ultimately, the purpose of improving your patient care is to provide the quickest, most comfortable route to their recovery. And for you to provide quality healthcare, you must anticipate where your patients are and what they need from you at each stage of their journey to healthier versions of themselves.