Where better to get tips for growing your clinic than healthcare marketing experts?
Having worked with clinics for years, helping them reach new patients, improve patient experience and create seamless procedures for getting new patients through the door, we’ve got plenty of experience. Check out our success stories here.
And in this blog post, we’ve decided to share our top 10 tips with you on to improve patient experience.
But before we do, let’s quickly go over what we are referring to by patient experience and why this is so important to get right to grow your clinic.
What is patient experience?
Patient experience goes beyond patient satisfaction. It covers all interactions that a patient has with the clinic. This includes how they discover the clinic, all the way through to post-treatment care and everything in between.
Providing a good patient experience is fundamental for a successful clinic.
You’ll need to provide the best possible care to retain your current patients and get the word out to future patients. In fact, achieving a positive patient experience is one of the most effective ways to ensure the highest converting leads: word-of-mouth referrals.
Now that we’ve highlighted the importance of patient experience for a prosperous clinic, let’s delve into the top 10 ways to improve this.
1. Improve communication
One of the most effective and simplest ways to improve patient experience in your clinic is to provide personalised communication. This consists of addressing each patient by their first name, whether in person, via email, or on the phone. If your staff are able to learn the names of patients, even better. It’s a small touch that can significantly affect how the patient views your clinic.
Once you and your staff have built rapport with each patient, remember some of the key points they have told you. (Check out our blog post on contacting new patient enquiries.)
Do they want the treatment for a big event coming up? Ask them about it next time you see them. Show that you are interested in them and their goals. Keep notes on each patient to help you remember.
General communication, both with patients and between staff, is essential for a good patient experience. Your patient doesn’t want to explain the same thing to different staff members each time they visit. Remember to communicate before patients arrive. This, in turn, reduces waiting times and financial losses.
If there are any changes to treatments or consultations, communicate them to your patients as soon as possible and listen to their worries and concerns with an empathetic ear.
2. Comfortable waiting areas
Waiting areas can often be uncomfortable and stressful for patients. To improve their experience, make sure the seating is comfortable, there is adequate lighting, and the waiting time is minimal. Don’t try and squeeze too many patients into one calendar day. This will increase their discomfort as they wait longer in a more crowded room.
You can also offer amenities such as water, tea and coffee, magazines, and Wi-Fi to help patients pass the time. Adding relaxing music can also make patients feel more at ease instead of sitting in awkward silence!
3. Streamlined check-in process
A streamlined check-in process can make a significant difference on patient experience. This can include providing clear instructions on how to check in, having staff available to answer questions, and using technology such as self-check-in kiosks.
If you have staff to greet new patient arrivals, have them start a conversation. They should ask the patients how they are, show them where they can hang their coats, and make them feel comfortable before getting them checked in.
You and your team should also try and avoid having patients wait to check in, as this could exacerbate any nerves they have.
4. Clear and transparent billing
Billing can be a source of stress for patients, especially when it’s unclear or confusing. Make sure your billing process is transparent and easy to understand. Provide patients with clear information on what they will be charged for.
Conversations about billing should happen as soon as the patient shows interest in carrying out the treatment. You should empathise with those who may struggle with the more expensive treatments. This is when you can offer payment plans or other options to help lighten the load of a larger one-time payment.
5. Accessible and timely care
Patients want to be seen by their doctors as quickly as possible when they have an urgent health concern or even when they want to uptake aesthetic treatments.
Make sure your clinic is accessible and can accommodate patients promptly. This can include offering same-day appointments, extended hours, or telemedicine options.
Offer flexibility with patients needing to change or cancel appointments but try to get them rebooked as soon as possible to increase the chances of them converting.
6. Manage patient expectations
From the first contact with the patient, you’ll want to manage their expectations and offer realistic results and outcomes. This begins with how long they will have to wait for their consultation, to waiting times when at the clinic and the time the procedure takes. If you expect wait times to be long, prepare them by telling them to bring something to read.
Once your patient is in the chair, don’t promise them what you cannot 100% guarantee. Setting expectations too high will increase the likelihood of disappointment, impacting patient experience.
Patients should understand the benefits of the treatments, the likely outcomes and any risks involved. It’s better to have a patient pleasantly surprised by great results than one underwhelmed due to their high expectations that were not met.
7. Patient education
Educating patients about their health problems and treatment options can improve patient experience and help them feel empowered.
Offer educational materials and resources in your clinic. This can be in the form of flyers, posters and via email with videos and infographics to make the information understandable.
Take the time to explain diagnoses and treatments in clear language your patient will understand. Create an environment where they feel comfortable discussing their doubts and fears and be prepared to answer any questions.
8. Technology integration
Technology can help streamline many aspects of healthcare, from scheduling appointments to accessing medical records. Consider integrating technology into your clinic to improve the patient experience and increase efficiency.
You’ll be able to decrease wait times and take the weight off your staff, which should be fully trained and comfortable with any new technology you incorporate.
Keep up with any new trends and technology in the healthcare world that apply to your clinic and the treatments you offer and evaluate which would improve your treatments and the overall patient experience.
Offering top-of-the-range technology to patients is a great selling point that assures your patients are getting the best of the best at your clinic.
9. Comfortable exam rooms
Exam rooms can be uncomfortable and intimidating for patients.
Our number one tip, is to make sure the room is clean!
That little pile of dust in the corner screams that the room hasn’t been thoroughly cleaned. The room should be spotless, and consultants should make an effort to wash their hands and put on gloves in front of the patients to show they are working in a hygienic environment.
The room should also be as comfortable as possible. This includes seating and good lighting. You can also provide calming music and offer blankets for longer treatments.
10. Follow-up care and feedback
Following up with patients after their appointments or procedures can greatly help improve their experience and ensure they receive the care they need. This will also encourage your patients to return to your clinic for different treatments.
Ensure your staff is trained to follow up with patients promptly and effectively and offer resources such as support groups or counselling services for those needing them.
Ask patients for feedback and take on board any criticisms as lessons on improving patient experience. Respond respectfully to any negative feedback promptly. Taking a breath and avoiding becoming defensive will pay off in the end.
98% of consumers read online reviews before they opt to buy. And it’s human nature to head straight to the bad ones to find out worst-case scenarios. Your response to any bad reviews can drastically affect their opinion of you!
Improve patient experience in your clinic
Follow these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to unlocking a great patient experience at your clinic. Communication and empathy are essential to patient satisfaction; this doesn’t just begin and end in the clinic.
From the first point of contact, your clinic should provide the best care possible until the follow-up appointments and any further communication. You want them to return for more treatments and, most importantly, recommend your clinic, providing you with high-converting word-of-mouth referrals.
If you are considering advertising to help you get more patient enquiries, book a quick chat with our team to see how we can work together to grow your clinic.