News & Press: The Consult

Improve Your Patient Experience, Transform Your Practice

Tuesday, June 9, 2020  
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by Marsha H. Steed, Co-Chair of the AACS Allied Health & Practice Management Committee

In today's competitive healthcare environment, it's critical that physician practices provide a personalized, engaging patient experience. Your practice delivers patient experiences every minute of every day online, on the phone, in-office, and by word-of-mouth. An experience that lasts a few seconds leaves the patient with an impression and an emotional reaction that can last a lifetime.

What is Patient Experience?

The Beryl Institute defines patient experience as "the sum of all interactions, shaped by an organization's culture, that influence patient perceptions across the continuum of care." Patients and their loved ones can offer valuable input on what your practice is doing well and where improvements are needed throughout the patient journey.

Why Does Patient Experience Matter?

According to the American Medical Association, "patient-centered care means incorporating patients' perspectives, experiences, and opinions into how you run your practice. Meaningful patient engagement helps achieve better quality, better outcomes and lower care costs." Patients want a great overall experience, but problem areas frequently identified include scheduling difficulties, feeling rushed or unheard, long wait times, problems with staff, and lack of time with the doctor.

How to Deliver a Better Experience

Patient experience has become an urgent priority for medical practices and healthcare systems. There's a growing demand from patients and families for improved experiences and greater participation in their health care.

The first step for physicians and practice managers is to assess their current patient experience. This evaluation involves looking at the physical, mental, intellectual, and emotional components. Are you delivering a repeatable patient experience that bonds patients to your brand? How are your wait times? Can you decrease issues with your appointment process? Do you have a warm, engaging physical environment? Is your staff friendly and welcoming? What emotional touchpoints do you provide?

Times Have Changed

During these times of social distancing, wearing masks, taking temperatures, and other health guidelines, your patients are expecting more from you. The safety of your patients now requires additional steps to make them feel confident and comfortable. In addition to these essential protocols, let's not forget that we still need to maximize the lifetime value for every patient by providing a personalized, engaging patient experience.

As many practices are adding virtual consultations for patients, keep in mind that these electronic visits should be seamless, professional, and create an emotional connection between the patient and the physician. Virtual consultations can lead to increased business growth and should cultivate the patient-provider relationship.

What's Next?

Now is the time to transform your current patient experience. More than ever before, it's critical to see your experience through the eyes of your patients. Look at the process from beginning to end to understand what your strengths are and what needs improvement. Outstanding patient experiences are the foundation of your practice's success. Are you ready for the challenge?

The AACS Allied Health & Practice Management Committee's goals are to define the Allied Health audience and how AACS will support it and improve current Allied Health offerings and practice support resources. Share information on the Allied Health membership track with your staff and encourage them to get involved with the committee.

Applications to join an AACS committee are open through July 31.


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