- Improving convenience is one of the most effective ways to increase patient satisfaction in healthcare. 51% of patients see convenience as the most important thing when they are deciding where to receive care.
- Younger generations are more interested in seeing ease of use improve in health care, so if you have a younger clientele, it is the key to patient retention.
- Digital tools like booking, online bill pay, automated reminders, and telehealth appointments all contribute to making the patient experience smoother.
- Most patients only consider practices with overwhelmingly positive reviews, so your job is to gather as many of those as possible.
- Request reviews from patients after positive appointments, on social media platforms, with occasional surveys, and with physical feedback forms.
- NexHealth can reduce friction at many points along the way, which can add up to improved patient satisfaction.
How to improve patient satisfaction in healthcare
If you want to keep your patients satisfied and coming back for more visits, improving convenience should be on the top of your list of priorities. Many of the patient retention strategies you can employ to achieve this goal involve adding new technologies to your practice, as well as focusing on and improving the ways you interact with patients.
Why your patient retention strategies should focus on patient convenience
So, why should convenience be what you think of first when it comes to patient retention? It’s because just over half of patients (51%) believe that convenience is the most important thing that determines where they choose to receive care. Plus, 80% of patients will switch providers simply out of convenience and no other factor.
You can also predict which patients will be good promoters for you based on the reviews they leave about convenience. If you find a patient who reviews the admission or registration process positively, they are 46 times more likely to be a strong promoter for your practice compared to the ones who leave negative comments about these parts of the process. When it comes to wait times, the reviewers who leave positive comments on that topic will be 20 times more likely to be a promoter than those who have negative comments about the matter.
As you can see, cutting down on any obstacles patients may face in the appointment process is the best way to add evangelists to the fold. And the repeated word valued by patients? Ease.
Younger generations are demanding more from health care when it comes to making the process easier. They want to see wait times, scheduling, and billing become faster and simpler. If you are trying to bring in new patients, or if your practice has a younger clientele, improving digital tools and ease of use are even more important.
It’s all about smoothing out any possible friction in the system. So, what are great ways to do that?
Put patients first by giving them choices when scheduling, communicating, and billing
The more options a patient has in booking, interacting with, or paying you, the better. Especially if you have a wide range of ages coming into your facility, you want to make sure not to cut off any choices that have always been available to them. Instead, focus on where you can provide more options to improve the experience for all of your patients.
Ask your patients about their preferred method of communication. Do they want reminders from you via email, text message, or phone? How would they prefer to book an appointment? Would an appointment texting service be appropriate? By asking, you’re ensuring that you’ll get in front of your patients where they look the most, and they’ll also know where to expect reminders from you. You can even set up a messaging system where patients can have more direct access with their providers.
Options are likewise important when it comes to the scheduling process. Younger patients are much more likely to want to be able to book with ease and be able to do so during off-hours, so let them. Offer online booking and rescheduling right from a button on your website so that they can arrange their next appointment at their leisure.
You can also offer a convenient digital option for billing. While some older patients might still want to receive a bill in the mail, others are more comfortable with a bill sent over text or email, easily paid online.
Modernize your practice to match patients’ busy lifestyles by offering telehealth options
Offering more digital options for reminders, booking, and billing are great steps towards modernizing your practice, but you can also do this by providing telemedicine appointments. Telehealth is a great option for easy visits that don’t require in-person observation or lab tests. It can also serve as a helpful triage tool for doctors or dentists who want to evaluate their patients before determining whether any in-person visits need to take place.
Patients appreciate telehealth appointments because they save them time that would otherwise be spent commuting and waiting in an office, while delivering the same quality of care. With patients getting more and more used to telemedicine appointments, it’s a great time to add it in as an offering.
NexHealth’s features all improve convenience for patients
If you’re not sure where to start when looking for tools that can improve convenience for patients, look no further than NexHealth. Our software features online appointment scheduling, online bill pay, a telehealth platform, automated reminders, and more, all from an easy-to-use dashboard. You can manage your patients’ bookings, email and text reminders, and request online patient payments, all in one software that connects seamlessly with your current practice management system.
NexHealth makes it easy to store communication preferences, set appointment reminder email frequencies, and get patients connected to you without the need to download additional software or set up an account. Plus, every tool from NexHealth is HIPAA-compliant, so you don’t need to worry about security concerns when using the technology.
The benefits of increasing patient reviews
Patients are using reviews to shop for new doctors
If you don’t have many, or any, reviews, you may be preventing yourself from bringing in more patients. In a recent study, almost 70% of respondents said that positive patient reviews are either very or extremely important when deciding which health care providers to see. Plus, 72% of them are using these reviews when shopping for a new doctor. Without reviews, you’re reducing the likelihood of getting new patients.
Even more important to remember than that, 61% of your prospective patients might not consider you at all if you have negative reviews. You should see every negative review as a closed door to new patients, and avoid them at all costs.
Attracting new patients with reviews
You know you need to attract new patients using reviews, but it’s not just a positive star rating that can help bring in new people. The adjectives used in reviews are also going to influence the prospects reading them. Some words most associated with positive reviews from patients include “friendly,” “thorough,” “excellent,” “knowledgeable,” and “comfortable.” The people reading these reviews are not only finding out that patients are having a good experience, but why the experience is good at a given practice.
On the other hand, common negative reviews include words like “appointment,” “insurance,” “results,” “waiting,” and “rude.” Most of the top negative associated words apply to parts of the appointment process where they likely experienced roadblocks or friction, as well as negative experiences with patient care. “Rude” is never a word you want associated with your office.
How to increase patient reviews
How can you make sure you’re getting as many good reviews as possible? First, be proactive and reach out to your patients. Ask them directly via email and SMS, and route them right to the pages where you want them to leave reviews. The best time to ask patients to leave reviews is right after a positive experience. You can automate the review process with SMS or email messages using a software like NexHealth.
Second, ask for reviews on your website and social media channels. Post every once in a while encouraging patients to share their stories and reviews with you. From there, you could link to a form for them to fill out, a specific review site for them to use, or ask them to leave a comment on the platform. Let them know that whatever they write may be shared on your website or in promotional materials.
Looking for a more personal touch? Hand out feedback cards alongside after-visit summaries in the office, and explain the directions on the cards before they leave. Putting that one-on-one attention on patients when asking them to leave a review can reduce the chance that they’ll ignore the request.
It’s always a good idea to check back in with patients from time to time even if they haven’t had a recent appointment. Send out regular surveys, at least 1-2 times per year, to ask for feedback from your entire patient base. Add logic to the survey so that if your patients score you high enough, they get encouraged to leave a review on a specific site afterwards. For example, if they give an 8 out of 10 or higher, give them the link to leave a review on Google.
In all of these methods, make the steps between receiving the request and leaving a review as few as possible.
Want to smooth out the wrinkles in your patient retention process? Learn more about what NexHealth’s tools can do for your practice today.