5 easy ways to improve patient experience

christine varela

Christine Varela
Partner

Sep 23, 2016

ONE OF THE LESSONS I’ve learned in working for and with hospitals, health clinics and providers is the increasing importance of delivering an outstanding patient experience as a platform to build brands and loyalty. Over the past decade, it’s been interesting to watch organizations like the Cleveland Clinic and Dignity Health launch customer experience programs that make the patient experience the center of how care is delivered.
An example of how Cleveland Clinic is making patient experience part of their brand.

Even if your organization doesn’t have a comprehensive patient experience program, there are some fundamentals you can bring to your organization.

Here are the five easy ways you can help your organization engage in improving the patient experience journey.

1) Engage on social media

If a patient walked up to your reception desk and asked a question, would you ignore that person for an uncomfortably long time while they sat stewing, waiting?

Of course not. So you shouldn’t keep patients waiting when they ask you a question or comment on social media.

Many consumers are conditioned to expect a response from companies on social media within an hour, if not five minutes. For many patients and consumers, Facebook, Twitter and other platforms have become the new customer service desk and front line in their interaction with your brand. While it takes an investment to adequately resource social platforms, be vigilant for what patients are saying about you online. Take the time to engage with comments and questions, even if that’s just acknowledging a user post a Like. Recently, Twitter even rolled out a customer service tools directly on their platform for brands to take advantage of.

2) Keep your team smiling

The front line of your organization is often your patient’s first experience with your team. Your entire staff should be trained on principles of good customer service and then expected to use those skills every time they interact with a patient. You can start by encouraging your team to welcome patients with a smile and make eye contact with every person they pass in a hallway.

Training team members to be a resource, to expect questions and to always go out of your way to help a patient and their family is what builds love for your brand.

3) Provide free wi-fi!

We’re talking about the fundamentals, remember? It’s 2016. Free, reliable internet access is perceived as a need equitable to water. Nothing will cause waiting patients and family to grumble like a lack of access to cat videos. While they’re online, invite them to check in at your office via social media and talk about their great experience! Direct them to check out your website and social media pages in materials provided at the front desk and posters advertising free wi-fi.

4) Make your website easily navigable

The healthcare industry isn’t known for its brevity, and while your website should be robust with information, it should also be easy for patients to find the concise resources they’re looking for.

Focus on creating a patient-friendly website that is clean and easy to use. If you have navigation that is confusing with submenus buried 2 – 3 clicks in, it’s time to take a look at an overhaul to present information as clearly and obviously as possible. The simpler your site, the easier it is for consumers to connect with you and complete your calls to action.

5) Ask for feedback.

The patient experience isn’t over once they’ve left the building! Never forget to follow up with a survey to ask about the experience your patients had. Ask what went well and what could be improved upon. Analyze these anecdotes over time to reveal trends that will help you address and improve patient experience programs. If you’re not already capturing email addresses into a system for patient experience surveys, now is the time to start!

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