Patient satisfaction is a critical key performance indicator for health care providers and groups. Being able to offer experiences that leave patients with both their health care needs met and their personal needs considered can set your practice apart. Understanding what patients want from their health care providers is vital to being able to provide optimal experiences.
What Do Patients Want?
Whether you are a primary care provider, a specialist or a laboratory, patients demand personalized experiences. They expect clear, fast and effective communication. How you engage with patients before, during and after their appointment will affect their evaluation of your services as much as their actual treatment.
Ease of appointment setting
Patients want to get appointments quickly and easily, with minimum hassle. They hope for an appointment time that is convenient to them and prefer a location that is as close to them as possible. The ability to book an appointment through their preferred form of communication is also important. Phone is still a preferred mode of contact, but some patients appreciate a confirmation via text or email.
Reminders about their appointments
Once an appointment is made, the patient expects reminders. However, the type and number of reminders is important to avoid either a missed appointment or aggravation over multiple touch points. Noting a patient’s preferences in their file can help streamline the patient reminder process.
Short wait times
Once the patient arrives for their appointment, the wait time in the lobby or exam room is the most common pain point. Patient wait times improve by streamlining workflow processes. Consider allowing patients to fill out information via a secure portal, or using an intuitive interface on a tablet instead of outdated paper forms one must laboriously fill out by hand.
More provider attention during the visit
Using a streamlined interface for entering patient data is crucial to how well-cared your patient feels during their visit. Physicians currently spend over 16 minutes per patient encounter on electronic health record files, according to the Annals of Internal Medicine. Adapting workflows to give a patient full attention while still capturing critical health information can improve engagement without sacrificing quality of care and accuracy of record keeping.
Verbal-only instructions for pre or post-visit procedures can lead to confusion and mistakes. Paper instructions frequently get misplaced, inadvertently thrown away or damaged. Making patient instructions an integral part of your patient engagement system can mean that instructions are more clear, more accessible and more easily followed, leading to better outcomes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that 1 in 5 new prescriptions never get filled. Among those filled, approximately 50% of new medications get taken incorrectly. Patients often cannot remember the names of their new medications or what they are for. Following up a few days after a visit can provide a chance for positive, caring, patient engagement. It also offers the opportunity to ask questions that can help patients adhere to their medication protocols.
What Do Providers Need?
Health care providers need their offices to run smoothly, their patients to be satisfied, and referrals into and out of the office fulfilled. They also need solutions that streamline common processes, make data both secure and easy to access, and improve revenues year over year. Patient engagement tools can help support these goals.
Fewer no-shows and patient cancellations
When making appointments is easy and intuitive, and patients receive reminders at the right time, patient no-shows drop. Facilitating cancellations before an appointment can allow for re-booking those slots. The result is a better workflow and more stable revenues, directly because of how patient engagement is used to manage appointments.
Automated solutions for repetitive tasks
Automation frees up staff for one-on-one patient-facing tasks that require a human touch, reducing hold and wait times for patients. When appointment reminders, medication refill orders, chart updates, and documentation requests process through a centralized platform, more time is available for direct patient care that improves outcomes.
Multiple options for patient outreach
Communicating with patients, through their preferred method of contact, can enhance patient engagement. It can increase on-time appointment arrivals, improve aftercare compliance and medication adherence. Personalizing patient experiences leads to better overall perception of value provided, leading to more word-of-mouth referrals.
Easy access to patient data
For comprehensive patient care, patient data from different providers and locations needs to be both accessible and secure. Being able to access relevant patient data or request and receive it in a timely manner is vital to seamless patient experiences.
Challenges in the way of successful patient engagement
A patient engagement solution must be flexible and multichannel. Every individual will have their own preferences. Some patients will request to be contacted through text messages, while others prefer email communication. Finding out what resonates is part of building your patient communications system.
Finding the balance between too much communication and not enough is another challenge. Failure to message at the right time with the right information can lead to failed communication and missed appointments. Information overload can cause patients to tune out.
Accounts receivable can be responsible for a large percentage of a practice or laboratory’s outbound patient communications. Finding the right tone and frequency of communication to deliver results without causing alienation is critical, and may require more attention to manage billing and insurance conflicts.
By focusing on creating meaningful patient engagements, the interaction balance stays tipped towards the positive.
Patient Engagement Solutions From Tangible
The Happe-Engage platform, from Tangible Solutions, provides a 360-degree delivery system around you and your patients’ preferred methods of communication. This design leverages every patient engagement channel and optimizes each point of contact for the best outcomes.
Happe-Engage streamlines scheduling, appointment reminders and document requests. The Visit-Ready feature prompts patients to complete paperwork before they arrive in your office, reducing wait times. Optimized follow-up tasks help increase patient compliance and provider productivity.
Post-visit surveys can help to keep patients engaged even after they leave your office. Feedback helps you refine your approach, and analytics reveals areas for still more improvement.
Seeking to enhance the patient experience life cycle? Contact Tangible today.