The patient experience is a fundamental part of healthcare. However, it’s not easy to define, let alone achieve the highest standard. From scheduling and intake to billing and discharge, the patient experience is affected by many factors. This article will review three signs that it is time to upgrade the patient experience in your practice and strategies for successful changes.
What Is the Patient Experience?
A patient’s experience begins at first contact with your practice and continues through every interaction during treatment and beyond. Patients who feel well-cared for, respected, and understood are more likely to be loyal and return for future medical care, making patient satisfaction an essential factor in determining your practice’s success.
The impact of patient experience extends far beyond your practice, however. Patients who feel satisfied with their care are more likely to use mental health services again in the future than those who do not. Behavioral health providers must recognize the patient experience’s role in their clients’ long-term treatment outcomes.
How to Tell if It Is Time to Upgrade the Patient Experience
So how can you tell when your patient experience needs improvement? Start by watching for the three signs below.
1. Patients aren’t returning.
One telltale sign of an unsatisfied patient? Never seeing or hearing from them again. If your patients aren’t coming back after treatment (or if they don’t even make it there), something needs to change quickly. There are many reasons this might happen, including poor scheduling practices or an unfriendly office environment, such as long wait times before being seen by a provider.
2. Patients are not engaged in their care. Your patients are experiencing long wait or hold times.
Patients who feel empowered and engaged in their healthcare have better outcomes than those who don’t. They’re also more likely to return for future appointments and refer friends or family members for care at your practice.
3. Patients experience friction with your digital tools.
If your patients are having trouble using your patient portal or telehealth platform, it may be time to upgrade. If they feel like their voice isn’t heard or the technology is not user-friendly, this can lead to frustration, dissatisfaction, and even worse, patient abandonment.
Recommendations for Improving the Patient Experience
Confirm appointments and send automated reminders.
There are many benefits to confirming appointments with patients. It helps you avoid scheduling conflicts and also allows you to verify that the patient still wishes to see you during the appointment window you’re providing. Automated reminders make this process more efficient and significantly decrease no-shows due to forgetfulness. When patients need to cancel or reschedule, automated reminders can save time by reducing back-and-forth communication between the office staff and the patient.
Streamline your telehealth setup.
Gone are the days when telehealth could be an afterthought. The COVID-19 pandemic has established virtual appointments as an enduring form of health care delivery. Telehealth has the potential to improve your practice’s patient experience and reduce costs – so long as you use the right system. Here are a few suggestions for how to fine-tune your telehealth patient experience.
- Avoid making patients download software and use a web-based platform instead.
- Make sure your platform is secure and HIPAA-compliant.
- Before their actual telehealth appointment, prompt the patient to try a test visit or review clear step-by-step instructions, ideally with images.
Optimize your patient portal.
Patient portals are a vital tool for behavioral healthcare providers today. But not all patient portals are created equal, and many are poorly designed or needlessly complex. This can make them difficult to use and lead to fewer patient and provider interactions.
The perfect patient portal will have all the information and tools that patients need to take control of their health care experience — from scheduling appointments and getting test results to filling prescriptions and communicating with their doctors.
Upgrade Your Practice’s Patient Experience with Valant
If you want to improve the patient experience, it’s important to focus on your patients’ needs and build a network of resources to help them.
Valant EHR delivers a high-quality, hassle-free experience for both patients and providers. Our patient portal, MYIO, is the first ever patient portal mobile app for behavioral health. MYIO gives patients the user-friendly experience they want and offers you one central hub for all patient interactions. MYIO is also available on mobile and desktop browser.
Come see how Valant and MYIO can help improve your patient experience.