The healthcare sector is becoming more competitive, operating costs are continuing to rise and administrative tasks are making up a larger part of the whole industry. Private practices are encouraged to adopt strategies that will help them sustainably address these issues. Otherwise, they are at risk of negatively impacting their bottom line and practices can find themselves falling behind the competition.
Although there are several solutions available, some are not practical to all practices. Adopting the wrong solutions can lead to bigger problems. Always start by addressing the “patient experience” first before moving on to different aspects of the business.
The Role of Patient Experience in Your Bottom Line
Patient satisfaction plays an essential role in your bottom line. People have become more involved in their healthcare decisions. As medical costs and insurance premiums continue to rise, patients are more discerning when selecting a practice for healthcare.
By putting your patients at the core of your business strategies, you improve how you attract new clients and retain existing ones. When you’re patient-centric, it’s easier to create opportunities to develop positive relationships with your patients. Positive patient experiences lead to better engagement and pave the way to stronger loyalty to your practice.
Patient-Centric Improvements to Adopt for Your Practice
As mentioned, there are several ways to improve your practice for better patient experience. Most of the time, patient-centric solutions carry over to other aspects of the business. Once you’ve determined how patient experience is interconnected with your other processes, you can find out which solutions are beneficial to your bottom line.
Increase Direct Patient Care
One of the more common problems is the minimal time spent on direct patient care. These are practices that range from meetings about patients’ needs to reviewing medical records before every appointment. Since these directly impact patient experience, consider allotting more time towards them. Doing so gives your staff enough time to accomplish the tasks that will make treatments, examinations, and other clinical practices go smoothly. But make sure that the system you develop is practical for your practice. Otherwise, you run the risk of overworking your staff.
Improve Patient Flow
Patient flow covers several factors in a medical practice, from scheduling to communications to collections. Developing strategies that improve patient flow means patients are clearer about how their treatment proceeds. The more they are in the know about what is happening, the less anxious they’ll be about their treatment.
Adopt a Scheduling System
Getting your patients in and out of the door on time is essential in running a successful practice. Utilize an appointment reminder service to help you and patients keep track of different appointments and schedules. This will decrease missed appointments and impromptu visits that can significantly impact your whole schedule.
Improve Your Collection Strategy
An ineffective collection strategy is a hurdle faced by most medical practices. Several physicians have taken to using non-traditional payment programs, such as direct pay, to remedy the situation. However, before adopting new collection methods, determine what’s causing payment problems. By addressing it at its root, you can develop a strategy that is specific to your business practices, which will yield better results in the long term.
Conduct Service Assessments
Customer reviews are essential in private practices. These give you valuable insight into your business which can lead to better processes. Send out a questionnaire on how you can improve your services. Additionally, encourage long-term patients to share their opinions on your practice, whether they’re positive or negative. The information gathered here will help you develop new and better strategies.
Hire the Appropriate People
Non-medical tasks take up a significant amount of your time. Instead of focusing on what they’re trained to do, your physicians and nurses are completing paperwork and other administrative tasks. Address this issue by hiring the necessary people. Start with a practice administrator so you have someone who can manage the administrative side of the business. Then, determine who else you need in your staff. Take your time when you scale up to avoid any unnecessary expenses.
Organize for Efficiency
The interior design of your private practice plays a role in improving efficiency and strengthening patient relations. Determine how changes in design can improve comfort and convenience in the space.
- Move exam rooms nearer the waiting area to reduce patient migration time.
- Incorporate workflow into the design to decrease physical barriers and to encourage forward movement rather than circular movement.
- Keep additional rooms available for unscheduled appointments to reduce instances where pre-scheduled appointments are rescheduled in favor of emergency visits.
Much like with other types of businesses, customer or in this case, patient experience plays an essential role in attraction and retention. By developing strategies that are aimed towards improving patient experiences, you create an environment where they are comfortable in your practice. Consider these suggestions when you are looking for solutions to improve your bottom line.