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3 Tips to Improve the Patient Experience at Your Facility

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. 

3 Best Practices to Improve Value-Based Care Reimbursement

The transition to a value-based reimbursement system from the more familiar fee-for-service (FFS) model has created an environment where providers are rewarded based on the quality of their service or the level of care delivered to patients. Practices will thus have to evolve in their strategies to be well positioned to bear greater financial risk while at the same time having to pursue improvements in quality. Here are 3 best practices that can help your practice improve reimbursements in a value-based care setting: 

1. Have a Clear Understanding of the Value-Based Reimbursement System

The first step towards a smooth transition to a value-based care payment model is to understand what value means; not just to your practice but to patients and payers. It’s important to understand that in a value-based world, payments are tied to outcomes, effectiveness, and efficiency. The aim is better care for individuals, improving population health management strategies, and reducing healthcare costs. How do you perceive improvement in service delivery? Is your perception of quality care aligned with that of patients and payers? Considerable effort should be made to align the measures of quality you adopt with that of patients and payers. Any form of misalignment should be identified and addressed.  

2. Make Actionable Data Available

A way to increase transparency in service delivery and gain the trust of patients and payers, which is vital to success in value-based care settings, is to make actionable data available on a regular basis. According to a report by the Alliance of Community Health Plans, data is “valuable only if actionable.” Publish data that captures improvements in service delivery by highlighting areas where value has been added and where significant reductions in cost have been achieved. This would build trust in patients and payers because they can easily evaluate the performance of a practice though the data provided.  

3. Educate Your Staff

The education of staff on how to engage with patients should be a top priority.  Operating in a value-based care setting demands that patient’s satisfaction should be pursued as payments are tied to it. According to Dr. Rita Numerof: “The satisfaction of the patient is going to be really important in outcomes. We’re going to have to look at quality outcomes.” Employees at all levels must therefore be adequately trained to understand patient’s needs and be well suited to meet them in the best way possible. 

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