Therapists, by nature, are caring individuals, but in practice, sometimes caring about the patient experience can get a little lost in the day to day hustle. Here are three core ways you can enhance the patient experience to keep patients satisfied and your practice thriving.
Create an Inviting Environment
It has been proven, in some cases, the physical environment a patient is in can actually help them heal faster. Since healing is a main focus of physical therapy, creating a positive, welcoming environment is a good place to start, when enhancing the patient experience. Everything from the ambience of the waiting room to a friendly and well-informed front office staff should be taken into consideration.
While no patient likes to wait, it is often inevitable that they will have to, be it because they arrived early or you are running late. Make the wait more bearable by creating an inviting space. Everything from providing comfortable seating to making use of natural light can make a huge difference in terms of atmosphere. Stock the with toys and coloring books for children (whether or not you treat children) and set the mood with soothing music via Pandora or Spotify, if you’d like to forgo fitting the space with a television.
Staff your reception area with a friendly, attentive, and knowledgeable team, who will provide one-on-one, patient-focused customer service. Have them greet patients by name and with a smile, and make sure they are intimately familiar with office policies and procedures, so they can answer any questions your patients may have.
If you are running late, respect that your patient’s time is also valuable and have your front office staff let them know there is a delay. Having your front office staff offer an apology and give updates on how long they can expect to wait can go a long way in managing expectations, as well as easing any frustrations your patients may be.
Communication is Key
Communicating effectively will not only help to foster a strong provider-patient relationship and, in turn, may create better outcomes, but also lends itself well to a positive patient experience, all around.
From the very beginning, work to keep your patient in the know on everything from how to get to the office the very first time and where to park, to office policies and procedures, including paperwork and payments, right on through to their care plan, including the benefits of therapy, what is happening during their sessions, and what is expected of them, during and after each. While your schedule may be packed, and you may not have time to sit and chat with each patient for hours on end, make sure that they know they can ask questions, particularly about their care.
Having a therapist that is accessible and friendly can be an important factor for patient satisfaction, and a well-informed patient will very likely be a happier, more motivated and compliant one.
Ask for Feedback
No news isn’t always good news, no matter how the adage goes, and the things your patients aren’t telling you could be holding you back from reaching your patient satisfaction goals. So, in the spirit of communication being key, know that it has to work both ways.
Ask your patients to provide feedback in the form of patient satisfaction surveys, either digitally or on paper, as a part of their end-of-treatment process. This not only allows you to be aware of where you could be failing in providing the best care and experience, but tells you where you really shine.
Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.