Healthcare is competitive. Modern patients know they have options when it comes to choosing their healthcare provider. Before choosing a doctor, patients think about things like insurance and referrals from friends and family. But, it’s their personal experience at the doctor that convinces them to stay or search for another doctor. That’s why healthcare practices work hard to improve the patient experience.
In today’s digital age, the patient experience starts online. In fact, 90 percent of patients don’t feel like they have to stay with their healthcare provider if their digital experience doesn’t meet their expectations. And, 88 percent of those under age 40 surveyed in a recent Black Book survey said they would choose their next healthcare provider based on their online presence.
But if you’re a small doctors office, you may feel lost in the shadows of larger healthcare organizations. How do you compete with offices that have bigger budgets, more staff and more digital resources?
The answer isn’t as complicated as you might think. In fact, it doesn’t start with a fancy website or mobile app.
Make it easy to make an appointment.
Calling your office shouldn’t be the only way patients can schedule appointments. Digital appointment scheduling is much easier for patients. Imagine you’re a patient who needs to schedule an appointment while you’re at work. You don’t necessarily want your coworkers to overhear your conversation with the doctor’s office. Instead, online scheduling and appointment requests offers you privacy and convenience as you weigh which available date and time would suit your schedule best. From online booking to scheduling bots, there are many tools that allow patients to schedule an appointment beyond just calling the office. (And as a bonus, streamlined digital scheduling frees up your staff to work on other high-value activities!)
Next, get rid of the paper.
The last thing patients want to do when they’re hurrying to squeeze in an appointment during the workday is to sit and fill out packets of paper. Filling out forms feels impersonal and tedious, especially when patients aren’t feeling their best. It can also delay their appointment and the rest of your care team’s schedule.
Instead, offering online patient forms allows you to collect important information from your patients before their appointment. Patients can gather the contact information and medical history they need to accurately fill out the forms on their own time and in the comfort of their home. This increases the likelihood that your practice receives accurate and current information. Email and text reminders can encourage your patients to complete the form when and where is best for them.
Make visits more productive and timely.
Most patients are already time-crunched trying to squeeze in their appointment, especially if it’s during the workday. Online patient forms allow your patients to submit important information like insurance eligibility and medical history for review ahead of time. This helps them get in and out of their appointment quicker, as your office can confirm their coverage before their visit. Being able to see their medical history ahead of time also allows your care team to focus on delivering personalized care during the visit, rather than wasting time asking repetitive questions. With less wait time and a more productive visit, your patient will be more likely to view the appointment as positive. In a world where patients value time, this is important to creating the best possible patient experience.
Finally, make the patient experience personal.
As a smaller office, you have the unique opportunity to connect more directly with each of your patients than larger organizations. Simple things like calling your patients by their first names and remembering small details about their family can go a long way. You can also build personal relationships with patients by engaging with them even when they’re out of the office. From posting about your staff on social media to following up with your patients after their visits, your patients will appreciate your effort to stay in touch with them. This shows them you care about their health and wellbeing and can lead to them becoming loyal patients for life.
Contact us today to learn how PatientStudio can help your practice provide a better patient experience.