By Trude Henderson
The term patient experience can best be defined as “everything encompassing what a doctor and his/her staff says and does, what a patient says and does, the nature of the office environment and the policies and procedures, both formal and informal, that govern a practice.”
Practices can use patient feedback to monitor patient reactions to their experience to ensure that high care and treatment standards are maintained and, if necessary, improved. Patients, especially those with introverted personalities, are understandably reluctant to provide in-person feedback. A good real-time survey platform is one that encourages an open but non-confrontational dialogue with patients, not once or twice a year, as some suggest, but all year round, thus assisting a practice to proceed on its continuous improvement journey.
Real-time data can be invaluable to practices for several reasons:
- Practices leaders are enabled to quickly and easily identify blind spots and resolve patient, process, employee or office environment-related issues
- The patients themselves get to play a role in shaping customer service and deciding on the treatment options available to them
- When practices identify patient-flow concerns, it can save both patients and the practice time, while minimizing frustration and unnecessary stress
- Practices can better identify time pressures that adversely affect positive relationships and patient care
- Practices can identify areas where more patient contact or attention to detail is needed
- Patients put off by the demeanor of certain practice employees can make their feelings known to practice leaders
- Waste can be identified and eliminated more efficiently, and economies put in place, allowing the practice to continue offering high quality treatment at an affordable price
- Practices can better identify issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, and quickly resolve them
- Practice leaders can better assess patient reactions to changes they have recently introduced, or are planning to make
- Practices can confirm their suspicions about areas where they are currently underperforming, and expose areas that they may not be aware are underperforming
- Practice leaders can immediately reward staff who exhibit good behavior resulting in improved morale and cooperation and increased likelihood that the behavior will be repeated
The right feedback platform can be vital to practices in addressing both comfort and quality related concerns of patients that are controlled by management, thus making them better equipped to provide an optimal patient experience.