When it comes to getting healthcare services today, patients are behaving more like consumers than ever before. Patients are now faced with many options; such as where to get treatment or their next surgery. Just like choosing a smartphone, patients shop around, perform their own research, and ask for referrals from friends or family before they go for healthcare services. This is why the patient experience is playing such a critical role in a healthcare facility’s bottom line.
Rising healthcare costs and out-of-pocket expenses due to high-deductible health plans have contributed to this healthcare consumerism trend. Patients are now the new payers. In this digital age, patients are researching their options online to find the best solutions for their circumstance. This is especially true for outpatient elective or non-emergency surgical procedures in ASCs. To stay competitive, improving the patient experience is critical. Here are 3 tips for a world-class patient experience:
1. First Impressions and Waiting Times
Data from a recent survey of 200,000 patients conducted by Athena health revealed that the longer the waiting time before patients meet their provider during a first appointment, the less likely that patients would recommend the practice to their friends.
82 percent of patients who waited for just 0 - 5 minutes during a first appointment were likely to recommend the practice to their friends; while just 47 percent of patients would recommend the practice if they waited for 45 or more minutes.
2. Compassion and the Human Touch
Today’s age of technology and artificial intelligence are now playing a greater role in healthcare, but compassion and the human touch is still the most important principle. Both patients and doctors rank compassion as the most important element in healthcare.
A survey by HealthTap revealed that 89 percent of physicians cited compassion as a very important part of delivering the best care (even higher importance than education and command of medical knowledge) and 85 percent of patients said compassion was very important (even higher importance than cost and wait times). Additionally, 94 percent of doctors stated that being compassionate makes their patients more likely to follow their advice.
3. Patient Financing
With ballooning out-of-pocket expenses, co-pays, and coinsurance, comes the rise of predatory subprime lending programs designed to lure patients who find themselves in financial distress. It is critical that providers are educated about the lending they are introducing to their patients if they want patients to come back for care or to refer friends and family. Healthcare providers, particularly ASCs and physician practices, rely on referrals and repeat business to stay competitive. It is critical today to find a partner for your facility that would offer patient financing options at zero or very low interest rates.