The Importance of the Patient Experience
The patient experience has never been so important. As the medical industry shifts from fee-for-service to fee-for-value, a greater emphasis has been placed on quality experiences. Soon your clinic will see reimbursements and penalties based almost entirely on the quality of care.
The 2015 Physician’s Index reports 50 percent of providers believe their compensation will transition to a value-based payment model in the next 10 years.
Soon, quality medical care will no longer be defined by just clinical outcomes – every patient’s perception will play a significant factor. This highlights the importance of figuring out how to properly manage the patient experience through your already-established care process.
One of the main challenges practice administrators face is that there are too many solutions available. I’m sure you have already spoken to your fair share of vendors, all of which have the solution you’ve been looking for.
While these systems boast state-of-the-art technology and advanced protocols, nothing can compete with providing patients with exceptional, personal care. You can design, create and build the best processes, but it is your employees that make them a reality. Patients are paying attention to how they are treated by each and every person they come into contact with at your clinic; that means every member of your staff helps shape their experience.
At the end of their visit, patients want to feel a connection to both their provider and the staff. When every member of the team demonstrates a sincere connection with a patient, especially when the patient is frustrated or confused, they feel heard and validated. This is much easier said than done in busy practices or in hectic environments when it takes all the focus and commitment we have just to complete our assigned tasks or duties.
So the question is, how do you build a team of people in which every person views themselves as a resource to the patient, no matter their role or positon?
There are three essential qualities, or skills, necessary to connect with a patient.
Have you ever heard the phrase “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it?” Words alone don’t communicate intent. There are three elements of communication: words, voice qualities and physiology. All three must be aligned to effectively communicate.
Critical thinking requires evaluating and improving your own thought processes to engage in reflective and independent thinking. There is no right or wrong way to approach any situation. Oftentimes, simply asking different questions can help you look at a problem from another perspective.
All communication is a transfer of emotion. Every staff member has the ability to demonstrate sincere empathy for a patient, making them feel heard and validated. Being emotionally intelligent means recognizing one’s own emotions and paying attention to the patients’ verbal and nonverbal emotional messages.
Focusing on technology, processes and protocols will always be an important part of practice management. Nevertheless, providing your staff with the training and resources they need to maximize the patient experience should not be overlooked.