For Clinicians The Practice Handbook

6 ways to improve patient satisfaction

Every patient deserves high-quality care, a strong patient-doctor relationship and an outstanding experience from the medical practice, clinic or hospital that they visit.

Improving patient satisfaction has become a priority to many specialists who recognise its importance in building loyalty, attracting new patients and enhancing the effectiveness of treatment, with satisfied patients more likely to adhere to their treatment recommendations.

6 ways to improve patient satisfaction

  1. Improve the waiting time experience
  2. Leverage cutting edge technology
  3. Establish a process to collect feedback
  4. Listen to your patients’ real experiences
  5. Improve the doctor-patient relationship
  6. Engage with your patients

Improve waiting time experience

A negative wait time experience can make patients feel uncomfortable, anxious and frustrated. Enhancing it should be at the top of your action plan for improving patient satisfaction.

How to improve patients’ waiting time experiences:

  1. Acknowledge patients as they wait. They value warm greetings and friendly interactions, and appreciate when non-clinical staff members are accommodating and responsive.
  2. Offer free wi-fi and provide games and activities for children.
  3. Inform patients of their estimated waiting time. If there are any changes, keep them up-to-date. Explain why they’re waiting to put them at ease and make them feel more comfortable.
  4. Identify peak volume times and introduce online registration, allowing patients to arrive closer to their appointment times.
  5. Offer alternatives to waiting rooms like a cafeteria to prevent patients from sitting in overcrowded spaces.

When patients have a positive waiting time experience, they will be more likely to feel satisfied and also recommend you to other people.

If you would like to know more about the effect of positive and negative wait time experiences, we have analysed every Doctify review mentioning wait times in our latest data report to find out exactly how they impact patient satisfaction.

Leverage cutting edge technology

Nowadays, you can find almost everything online. How could you be providing a better digital experience to your patients?

4 ways to improve patient satisfaction by leveraging technology:

  1. Give your patients access to electronic health records. This will make it easier for patients to find their lab results, while also helping to increase your practice’s efficiency. 
  2. Implement video consultations. Research suggests that it’s one of the most successful ways to improve patient satisfaction, as people find video appointments easy-to-use and convenient. 
  3. Develop mobile applications to improve the patient experience. If you’ve been thinking about how hospitals can improve patient satisfaction, this is the one to explore. The Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children has created an app providing real-time surgery updates to ease families waiting outside. Another option could be a direction app, helping patients and their families find their way to appointments easily and without stress.
  4. Implement e-reminders to alert patients about their upcoming visits, regular check-ups, or yearly flu shot appointments. This can improve your patients’ medical adherence, increasing their overall satisfaction.

Related: Video Consultations; here to stay or just a fad?

Establish a process to collect feedback

Your patients have different expectations and the best way to learn about what matters to them most is by conducting patient satisfaction surveys and gathering regular patient feedback. It can help you to recognise what your patients are satisfied with and the ways in which you can improve their experience.

At Doctify, we help healthcare providers to collect patient reviews. Through our digital solution, many specialists, clinics and hospitals are able to request feedback more easily and achieve a consistent flow of up-to-date reviews from their patients.

female doctor smiling to a patient

How to effectively collect patient feedback to improve patient satisfaction:

  1. Use a Doctify-powered tablet to make it easier for patients to leave a review after their appointments.
  2. Send out an email after appointments to reach patients who didn’t have time to submit their feedback while at your medical practice.
  3. Request reviews via SMS text messages to make it more convenient for patients to write their feedback while on the go.

Related: 7 ways to get more patient reviews

Listen to your patients’ real experiences

Patients appreciate it when you respond and acknowledge their feedback. It demonstrates that you value their time and respect their input. So, always put time aside to reply to the feedback and suggestions that your patients leave.

How to respond to patient reviews:

  1. Be efficient and reply within 24-48 hours. Prompt responses are essential to show your patients you care about their real experiences.
  2. Don’t ignore your negative feedback. We found that, on average, only 3% of negative reviews are responded to. Patients appreciate when doctors take their complaints seriously.
  3. Thank patients for leaving their feedback and let them know you’re going to use it to improve their future experiences. You can also encourage them to contact you directly if they need additional support.

Responding to your patients and implementing their suggestions is one of the most powerful ways to improve patient satisfaction. It makes the people you see recognise that they are listened to and that their opinions make a difference.

 Improve the doctor-patient relationship

female doctor smiling to a patient

Having a strong connection with your patients can help you to better understand their needs and improve their overall health. 

When people come to your clinic, they will often feel stressed and anxious about their health. By finding ways of making the patients feel comfortable and understood, you increase their satisfaction with your care, and they are more likely to recommend your services to their friends and family.

We have shared the best practices to improve the doctor-patient relationship in this post.

Engage with your patients

Boosting your patient engagement strategies can help you to increase and maintain patient satisfaction. It will make sure that patients stay informed and make better decisions about their treatments and care, enhancing their overall experience and improving their health outcomes.

How to increase patient engagement:

  1. Provide educational materials to empower your patients to make informed decisions about their health. Research shows that educating patients enhances the doctor-patient relationship. It also improves how satisfied patients are with their treatments, in turn improving their outcomes.
  2. Encourage your patients to discuss their treatments, health plans and goals with you. According to Deloitte’s 2016 Consumer Priorities in Healthcare Survey, 75% of patients want providers to include them in treatment decisions. It empowers them to stick to their care plans more effectively.
  3. Automate patient reminders about consultations and after appointments, send follow-ups with thank you notes. Also encourage patients to get in touch with post-appointment questions and request that they leave you feedback. Don’t forget to explain why their reviews matter.
  4. Make it simpler for your patients to check your availability, read your verified reviews, book appointments and find your prices. Patients will appreciate this transparency and it will make the process from finding to seeing you seamless and stress-free.

If you would like to find out more about how Doctify can help you to collect patient feedback and gain actionable insights to use in your action plan for improving patient satisfaction, please visit our Provider Centre for further information on our review intelligence platform. 

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