Did you know that one of the main reasons people dread the doctor is their fear of the unknown? With our healthcare industry today, bills, scheduling, and the logistical challenges of going to the doctor around a busy schedule all add to the stress.
However, there are a number of ways you can help patients overcome their fear of the unknown. Patient care can begin by setting their mind at ease by embracing technology and modern systems and procedures.
Read on to learn some simple strategies in order to improve the patient experience even before they step into your office.
Strong Online Presence
One of the first ways new and current patients interact with your new medical practice is through your website. This is where they’ll find information about your location, hours of operations, and new patient forms and procedures. You can break down that fear of the unknown as soon as possible.
Patients can also get a feel for your practice and you can build trust by adding high-quality photos of what the inside of your office looks like.
Websites are also a great way to collect reviews from previous patients. This helps build additional trust and rapport with people who are looking for a new provider.
Remember that your website is also your brand. You want it to be as easy to navigate as possible in order to create a good first impression.
According to a 2015 survey, 44 percent of patients prefer doctors who offer online scheduling. This is because, with the popularity of smartphones, more people than ever before have easy access to fast internet speeds.
Online scheduling is also seamless. Once patients find your website and are ready to book, it’s easier for most people to access a scheduling page than dialing your number.
They also don’t have to be put on hold by receptionists or spend upwards of 10 minutes or more finding the best date and time with the office staff. Online scheduling is faster and more convenient.
Online Intake Forms
Finding a new doctor is only half the battle for patients. Once they find a doctor they appreciate, they’ll still need to come in early in order to fill out paperwork.
You can help cut down on delayed appointment times by ensuring that patients have access to intake forms online. You can either allow them to download, print them and take them in or complete forms that are embedded right on your website.
Another aspect that doctors’ offices have trouble with is ensuring that patients make it to their appointments.
Text reminders are one of the easiest ways to remind patients of their appointments. They’ll most likely have their smartphone on them at all times.
Offices can cut down on costly cancellations. This also gives patients an opportunity to reschedule their appointments ahead of time if their schedule is conflicting.
Collect Online Feedback
It’s important that offices take feedback from their patients seriously and regularly. For this reason, you can send automated emails that request patients to fill out an anonymous survey in order to discern how satisfied they are.
Not only does this show patients that your office cares about their experience and wants to improve, but you’ll also be able to address problems before they become major issues.
Comfortable Waiting Area
Even with the most efficient offices, every once in a while a patient will need to wait longer than expected for their appointment. You can make this wait time far more enjoyable by ensuring that the waiting room is comfortable.
Make sure that the waiting area is cleaned every day with ample, comfortable seating arrangements. You may always want to dim the harsh lighting in the waiting area and offer soothing music or television.
Offering water and coffee is also a great way to help keep people comfortable and refreshed along with an assortment of reading material. Since almost everyone will come in with a smartphone, consider offering charging stations if you’re considering revamping the waiting room.
Improve Your Bedside Manner
Last but not least, bedside manner is one of the most important aspects to improving the patient experience at your office. Patients often feel rushed and dismissed at medical offices, especially women and people of color.
With this in mind, consider learning how to employ empathy and active listening in order to assure patients that you’re invested in their wellbeing. A friendly and caring demeanor can help patients open up more and describe their symptoms in more detail.
This can also help when it comes to truly understanding their illnesses. It can lead to improved medication adherence and an investment in their own health.
POCUS can also help doctors improve their bedside manner. Accurate diagnoses can be formed through the collection of more medical information.
Improving Patient Experience for Enhanced Health Outcomes
By focusing on improving your patients’ experiences, you’ll be able to improve their health outcomes. The reason for this is because the check-in and scheduling process will be seamless, leading to fewer cancellations at the last minute.
Patients will also feel more comfortable in the waiting room before their appointment. This is especially true if they’ve had trauma from other officers.
Lastly, an improved bedside manner will help patients open up. They’ll also adhere to medications and take a greater interest in their own health outcomes.
Ready to learn more ways to improve the patient experience? Keep reading the blog for more in-depth strategies.