Today, patient’s expectations are higher than ever before and with the recent shift to value-based care, medical practices cannot afford to be service laggard. Patients are seeking quality, transparency, and personalized care delivered quickly and efficiently. Practices that are able to create a personalized patient experience while delivering excellence in quality care will remain competitive and consistently win the loyalty and business of consumers.
Creating a personalized care experience for patients does not just happen overnight, however, when done correctly, it can be incredibly powerful. It can be the difference between a patient forgetting about your practice after one visit, and that same patient returning and becoming a loyal patient for life and bringing their family and friends with them.
“Making it personal” is about making the patient feel like they’re valued, respected, and cared for. It is about making them feel that their well-being matters to your practice.
Below are a few key points that can help a practice in getting started:
Personal Details Matter
When staff members remember specific details about a patient it makes them feel appreciated and special. Knowing key information about your patients is important, because personal details matter. It could be as simple as a question about their family, a pet, a hobby, or travel. A few suggestions to keep front of mind:
- Always address patients by their preferred name.
- Make a point to find out details about your patients beyond their medical history.
- Ask patients about their jobs, children, travel and hobbies.
Use Patient’s Preferred Name
“A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” – Dale Carnegie. Using a patient’s name is one of the quickest and most effective ways to make it personal. It is also a sign of courtesy and respect. Always ask the patient what their preferred name or nickname is and use that. Attempt to use the patient’s name more than once during your conversation and offer your name as part of the exchange. Throughout the conversation listen for, and use small, personal details that make the patient feel special, such as asking about their children, grandchildren, pets or hobbies.
Always Meet and Greet
It sounds obvious, but often staff members do not meet and greet patients when they walk through the front door. Every patient should be greeted with a friendly smile and staff members should introduce themselves to the patient, let them know who they are and what their position is. Staff members should also inform patients of all the steps or procedures they are going to go through before the physicians comes into the room.
Use All Possible Channels for Engagement
Whether a practice communicates via telephone, email, text message, social media, website, newsletter, or patient portal, in order to create a truly personal patient experience, you must communicate by using all possible channels for engagement. According to a study by Deloitte, 92% of organizations that believe customer experience is a competitive advantage offer multiple channels for engagement. In addition, Pew Research Center found that 68% of Americans own smartphones, and 48% have tablets. Furthermore, a survey on Becker’s Hospital Review found 71 percent of Millennial patients would prefer doctors that use technology to book appointments, share health data, and manage preventive care.
The bottom line is that today’s healthcare environment is more competitive than ever. Practices that are able to provide a more personalized care experience will not only win the business and loyalty of their patients; they will enjoy a more profitable future.