Patient care experience is one of the most important aspects of a thriving practice. As a physician, if you are providing your patients with comprehensive medical care, but the billing and reception aspects of their visit are complicated and annoying, you may not retain them as a client. Patient experience encompasses every aspect of what people seeking medical care interact with, including staff, nursing, lab techs, and referrals; anything related to the medical experience.
A vital component of a solid practice is understanding how your patients experience medical care in your office. You must learn to assess patient experience in a way that allows you to make necessary changes and cut useless processes. In this way, you can streamline what works, stop wasting money and time on what doesn't, and improve your patient's interactions with you and your practice.
Experience Versus Satisfaction
One of the first things to understand is that your patient's experience is not the same as their interpretation of the visit. Their experience encompasses more than just how they felt when they left. Assessing experience, therefore, is a different process than assessing if their visit was satisfactory.
For instance, a patient who is satisfied with their care directly from you as a physician but who has a tough time with your staff may not follow up for appointments. They may seek a different physician altogether, which can delay critical treatment and hamper their overall recovery no matter what they are suffering from. This is just one example of how a poor patient experience can affect your office and the people you treat.
Understanding that a patient's overall experience has many individual parts can help you better understand how and where to assess. Once you have identified each point in the overall process of interacting with your practice, you can begin evaluating those steps.
Identifying Points to Assess
From the patient's perspective, seeing you for medical advice begins with scheduling an appointment. The experience ends with them creating a follow-up appointment, settling a bill or a copay, or scheduling an annual visit. This is your first point to assess — intake and office administration.
The next point is your nursing staff and lab techs. Of course, people going to see the doctor are often anxious or worried, and if your staff is non-empathetic, you can create an atmosphere that is less inviting. A nurse's job is not just to take vitals and history, but also to act as a sort of greeting mechanism, making the patient feel comfortable.
Record retention, reminders for appointments, billing, and marketing are all other aspects of your practice that make up the overall patient experience. Each piece can have its own difficulties and each part has the potential to turn somebody away from your practice.
How to Assess Your Patient Experience
Many scoring tools, such as the CAHPS survey, seek to determine what is most important to patients rather than whether or not they were satisfied with their care. These surveys allow you to focus on and remediate problem areas that patients are most concerned with.
ViTel and other telehealth platforms can integrate surveys so that you can get real-time data and functional solutions. By using real-time data given by real patients, You can create positive change in the systems you use every day, which will lead to better patient outcomes and better patient retention.
Finding a Partner You Can Trust
Just as you want to improve your medical practice continually, ViTel wants to improve our ability to serve the doctors with whom we partner. ViTel's platform seamlessly integrates all aspects of running a medical practice, from patient intake and billing to medical supply, employee hiring and administration, doctor certification, and referrals. Our network is highly robust and capable of scaling with the size of your patient base.
If you want to partner with one of the best telehealth platforms today, contact us for a free demo. ViTel has built a continually improving system to benefit you and your patients in every part of your shared experience.