Patient-centric care is becoming more prevalent in hospitals and private practices alike, as the healthcare industry continues to prioritize the importance of positive patient experiences. Here are a few simple ways that you can improve your practice in order to achieve greater patient satisfaction.
Support and train your staff
Make sure your staff is focused on delivering service that is not only high quality, but that also delivers a positive patient experience. The first step to ensuring patient-centric care is by making sure that your staff is on the same page and that everyone has this common goal in mind. Additionally, encourage your staff to suggest ideas that they have for improving patient satisfaction within your practice.
Providing your patients with the information and tools they need to improve their health and adopt healthier behaviors is critical to the patient experience. A patient will feel like they’ve received more comprehensive care when they leave the office or hospital with more knowledge more than they had when they entered. Not only that, but studies have shown that greater patient education leads to better patient adherence, which leads to improvements in both patient satisfaction and health outcomes.
Create an environment of caring
Studies have shown that the greatest improvement in patient satisfaction in environments in which the patient feels truly cared for. This kind of positive patient relationship can be easily accomplished in small gestures that go a long way—remembering the name of the patient, greeting them with a smile, truly listening to what the patient has to say and engaging with them. Even offering small tokens of support will show that you care: offering a box of tissues if a patient is distressed or bringing them an extra blanket in case they get cold at night.
Differentiate your staff
Patients find it really frustrating when they are surrounded by medical professionals but are not sure what person to approach when they have a concern, question or request. This becomes even more frustrating when the patient approaches one employee only to be directed to another individual. The easiest way to differentiate your staff is by implementing uniforms that provide visual cues for the patient so that they can easily tell who is an RN, who is a PA, who is a physician, and so on.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, nurses have a critical role in patient-centric care. They are at the forefront of the patient’s experience, and nurses who have a higher degree of autonomy in their practice will often provide better care because they feel engaged and empowered in their work. Create a nurse staffing committee to allow your nurses to collaborate together about decisions for better patient care and give them the freedom they need to better the patient experience.
Work with patient schedule
By improving the efficiency and operations of your office or hospital, you can reduce long wait times both for scheduling appointments and reducing bottlenecks while a patient is waiting to be seen. One of the top complaints of patients surveyed was having to wait longer than the time of their scheduled appointment just to be seen—even creating a system in which a patient is kept informed about wait times can reduce patient frustration.
Keep supplies on hand
This seems simple enough, but make sure that medical supplies are easily on hand. Keep supplies that are used frequently in patient rooms and make sure you have a system in place to keep these supplies stocked regularly. It is frustrating for staff and patients alike when the medical professional at point of care has to stop what they’re doing to track down supplies that should be easily accessible.
Create a system for follow-up
Patients are often frustrated by the inability to communicate with their doctor in between appointments. Use technology and build systems that open the lines of communication between the doctor and the patient. This will not only foster long-term patient relationships, but it will create better health outcomes by making it easy for patients to schedule future appointments and stay consistent with healthy behaviors.