The importance of the patient experience is at an all-time high. With reimbursements based on quality of experience and an increased sense of consumerism among today’s patients, it’s little wonder that 70% of those polled in a 2013 Beryl Institute survey list patient experience and satisfaction as one of their top three priorities.
Here are four ways you can improve the patient experience through doctor-patient communication:
- Offer patient preference in communication channels.
Not everyone wants a phone call from the practice, but it’s also true that not everyone is ready for a text from their provider. The key to success is offering options. Make sure you have phone calls, text messages and emails as options for your patients and let them select a preference. You’ll see higher response rates in your doctor-patient communication efforts.
- Deliver relevant seasonal messaging.
This can be as simple as keeping an eye on the National Health Observances calendar. Use October as an opportunity to align with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and remind female patients about the importance of mammograms. March (American Heart Month) can provide doctor-patient communication opportunities for sharing heart health tips. The list goes on and on. You can even take a more financial-focused stance and communicate in November and December to remind patients about using their benefits before the end of the year.
- Be clear on benefits of action.
If you’re reaching out to patients for them to schedule a preventive exam, be sure to tell them why. Education is a vital part of effective doctor-patient communication, and it builds a sense of expertise and credibility into what you’re asking of your patients. Many preventive exams have life-saving implications, so there is no need to be shy about their significance.
- Make it easy for patients to take action.
One of the best ways to grow patient satisfaction through doctor-patient communication is giving them convenient ways to respond to your outreach. If it’s an appointment reminder, allow them to confirm or cancel their visit with a simple press of a button. If you’re encouraging them to schedule a preventive exam as we’ve looked at above, make it easy for them to transfer to be scheduled. While a healthy doctor-patient relationship isn’t entirely about “making it easy”, it’s certainly a positive element of effective communication.