Consumerism is driving the healthcare industry today. More and more healthcare practices recognize the importance of prioritizing their patients and improving the patient experience. But, while this realization is an excellent start, many practices need to make some significant changes in order to truly meet patient needs and improve their experience.
By creating a game plan for delivering a better patient experience, practices can determine what needs to be done to make these changes. From transitioning to a patient-centered mindset all the way to adopting the right tools, practices worldwide can create a better experience for their patients.
Redesigning your practice’s system isn’t a task that can be taken lightly. For many organizations, committing to improving the patient experience will require drastic changes, including altering the protocols and policies in place, the tools you use, and the way you and your team members work.
As such, it is essential that you create a proper game plan to implement change, ensuring that these changes are not only adopted correctly but that they will actually benefit you and your patients. When creating your game plan, consider implementing these best practices to ease your organization through this transition.
Commit to Change
Before you can begin to create a game plan for your team, you need to make a conscious and unified commitment to change. For your entire practice to successfully implement the changes that you want, they need to be on board from the start. Creating an open discussion with your team members can be highly beneficial in helping your practice to embrace the change.
In opening a dialogue, you will also allow team members the opportunities to raise questions, make suggestions, and identify pre-existing issues that may need addressing. This is your opportunity to discuss why the patient experience matters, what your goals are, and how you plan to achieve these goals through change.
A significant factor in delivering a better patient experience is changing your organization's mindset. The physicians on your team need to transition how they view patients. While patients are ultimately consumers bringing business to your organization, they are also people - many of whom are experiencing stress, fear, or discomfort.
Changing the way that your team members view patients will change the way that they interact with them. Remember, the purpose of your practice is not to see as many patients as possible but to work together with patients to ease their worries and find a solution that works. As such, they need to practice with a patient-centered focus.
It is also crucial that you and any other leaders in your organization lead by example. Change can be daunting for anyone, so your team members may not be thrilled by the idea of introducing drastic changes - particularly if they involve a learning curve. Still, seeing that leaders of the organization embrace these changes and obey new protocols will help guide your team members in the right direction.
Embracing and committing to delivering a better patient experience is only the first step, but it is an excellent one. Once your team members have a newly patient-centered mindset, you can begin creating your game plan for change.
Determine Gaps in Your Care
Determining what changes need to be made in order to deliver a better patient experience can be challenging, especially if your physicians aren’t aware of any issues. Still, to implement change, you must be able to identify where change is needed. For this reason, the first step in your game plan should be determining where there are gaps in your care.
Why is your practice failing to deliver a positive patient experience? What tasks are consuming too much time or resulting in errors? Are you facing recurring problems in your practice? Analyzing office processes and answering these questions will help you find a starting point in your plan.
It’s important to consider not only medical practices that may be diminishing the patient experience but also administrative tasks. While issues such as medical misuse are fairly straightforward to identify within a practice, there may be administrative bottlenecks impacting the patient experience. Problems may include scheduling difficulties, inability to refill prescriptions, trouble contacting their physician, or long wait times.
While these may seem like minor inconveniences, they can significantly contribute to a patient’s experience. The longer a patient waits for an appointment, or the harder it is to get the care they need, the more frustrated they will grow. Especially for patients with chronic conditions that require more frequent care, the inefficiencies with your practice will build up, ultimately leaving patients dissatisfied with your care. This leads us to the next step of building a game plan.
Listen to What Your Patients Want
One of the best ways to determine gaps in your care is to ask the patients you’re treating. Listening to patient preferences can be a simple way to determine where change is needed, particularly concerning new tools to implement in your practice. When patients come in for a visit, consider asking them what their commute entails or if they had any trouble making an appointment. Odds are - your patients will have a lot to say.
Many practices make the mistake of thinking that patients don’t have a preference in their healthcare, while the opposite is true. When practices had to transition to remote healthcare due to the pandemic, patients got a taste of telehealth and did not want to revert to previous healthcare methods.
While telehealth was initially a temporary solution for practices, patients realized how convenient telehealth was for their care. Through telehealth, patients are able to eliminate what can be a tedious commute to their physician’s office, in addition to refilling prescriptions, scheduling appointments, and making payments online. What was once cumbersome and inconvenient tasks are now efficient with telehealth, accelerating the healthcare process and improving it for patients.
By listening to their patients, practices can recognize gaps in their care and quickly define areas needing improvement. As a result, they can determine their game plan for delivering better care and begin to put it into action.
Adopt the Right Tools
Once you have determined what changes your patients want to see in your practice, it is time to begin the transition. While it can be challenging to find a solution for each issue identified, technology can be the solution. By adopting the right technology and tools, your practice can address these issues - and more - with ease.
Healthcare practices worldwide are adopting telehealth technology for just this reason. The right telehealth platform can serve as a one-stop-shop for all of your practice’s needs, accelerating and improving healthcare delivery. Within your telehealth platform, your practice will be able to have access to ePrescription and telediagnosis capabilities, in addition to more efficient scheduling and communicating with patients while offering both synchronous and asynchronous resources.
With all of these tools in your toolbox, your practice can drastically improve the patient experience. Your patients will benefit from increased access to their physician and medical resources, significantly saving them time while receiving enhanced care. As your practice operates more efficiently, your patients will be happier and healthier. The bottom line is that a telehealth platform is the solution needed to fulfill your game plan to deliver a better patient experience.