Patient experience in healthcare describes their experience in seeking care for an injury or illness—and every interaction with your practice contributes! Positive patient experience is critical to your brand, and your ability to attract and retain patients. Creating a great patient care experience is also proven to improve outcomes.
What does ‘patient experience’ mean to patients? What needs to change so that patients can have a great experience when they seek healthcare? How do you create a great patient experience at your office? We’ve got your answers.
What is patient experience?
Patient experience includes the range of experiences a patient has with a healthcare brand—including booking an appointment, interacting with front desk staff, spending time with doctors and nurses, receiving their care plan, paying their bill, and more.
Why is patient experience so important?
Patient experience is recognized as a domain of healthcare quality. The very nature of healthcare involves people who take care of other people during highly stressful times, so it’s important that providers recognize that patients should have a great experience when seeking care. In order to provide quality healthcare, you need to deliver a positive patient experience.
Patient experience is also important to your brand. Patients who love their experience at your office will refer their friends and family, and be loyal to your brand.
What makes a positive patient experience?
51% of healthcare consumers said convenience and access to care are the most important factors in their decision-making. That puts convenience above insurance coverage (46%), doctor/nurse conduct (44%), brand reputation (40%), and quality of care (35%).
If you want to improve patient experience in healthcare, you need to make it more convenient.
Only 1 in 3 people under the age of 45 start with their PCP for common medical issues, and the #1 place people visit if they don’t use their PCP is a convenient care location. Here’s what else patients are saying about convenience when it comes to their healthcare experience:
- 81% of consumers want healthcare to be as easy as shopping for other common services
- One-quarter of patients have thought about changing their primary physician (24%) because of convenience
- One in three patients said they would consider switching providers because of logistical issues, like booking appointments via phone instead of online
How to improve patient experience
Today’s patients expect a few things from their healthcare experience: visibility into prices, technology that enables easier healthcare access, and providers who focus on making healthcare more convenient. Improving patient experience starts with making healthcare more convenient.
There is an overwhelming number of brands that are putting their patients first and earning a high level of loyalty. There’s an even greater number of healthcare organizations that are treating patient loyalty as an afterthought because it’s easy to push efforts that don’t appear to directly impact the organization. It’s clear that in the coming years, patient loyalty will make or break your brand.
Patient experience in urgent care
When it comes to urgent care experience, patients expect more in less time. Though urgent care is historically walk-in, 66% of healthcare consumers would rather have an appointment—and be able to book that appointment from their mobile device. Urgent care patients want speed, and they value convenience.
The key to creating a positive patient experience in urgent care is streamlining your clinical workflow. Bring in tech that can power online appointment booking, increase throughput, help patients communicate with your clinic from their mobile device, and get transparent pricing.
Patient experience in primary care
Primary care offices are creating positive patient experiences by increasing convenience and access. We know patients are frustrated by how long it takes them to get an appointment with their primary care provider. On average, there is a 24-day waiting period between when a patient books an appointment with your office and when they are actually seen by a provider. In fact, as the need for convenience in their healthcare experience grows, more and more patients are seeking primary care at walk-in clinics or ERs.
70% of patients search online before they book an appointment. As more and more urgent care brands have online scheduling available with same-day appointments, primary care needs to stay competitive. Make sure your office can be found online, and that you have same-day or same-week appointments available, and you’re sure to increase your patient volume AND improve the patient experience. Healthcare is changing, and you can be at the forefront of modernizing patient appointment scheduling to set your practice apart.
What tools provide feedback on the customer’s patient experience?
The main tools providers are using to measure patient experiences are patient reviews and patient surveys.
Asking patients to review their experience at your office helps you gather information about what is—or isn’t—working in your practice. You might see that patients are frustrated by long wait times, or delighted with a particular doctor, and you can make adjustments. Gathering patient reviews online also helps boost your online reputation, since they can be seen publicly.
What is an NPS in healthcare?
You can use a metric called Net Promoter Score to see how many of your patients would recommend your practice, are neutral, or wouldn’t recommend you. NPS is a useful data point to track the patient experience at your office over time. NPS scores can be anywhere from -100 to +100. In the healthcare industry, anything above 0 is considered a good NPS score.
When it comes to creating a positive patient experience in healthcare, convenience is king. If you keep the patient’s expectations at the forefront of your decision-making, you will see an improvement in patient outcomes, loyalty, and brand reputation.