Do you know why patients choose your practice, and why they stay with your practice long-term? On the other side of the equation, do you know why patients leave your practice when they do?
Marketing often focuses on getting new patients, but it’s just as important to pay attention to your current patients. Patients have many options when it comes to medical care, and if they are not satisfied, they will seek care elsewhere. Furthermore, understanding what current patients like and don’t like about your practice can inform important business decisions, like staffing and training, moving forward.
Patient satisfaction has been an important topic in healthcare in recent years. Failing to meet patient satisfaction standards and expectations can hurt your practice in many ways. Most importantly, if you aren’t working to give patients the level of care they expect, you’ll have difficulty keeping your current patients. This in turn creates more work for your practice to bring in new patients.
If the vast majority of your patients are very happy with your practice, it’s also important to know what keeps them coming back (other than the need for medical care). There may be several practices in the area that treat the same conditions–what made patients choose yours?
This type of information can inform your practice’s marketing and patient satisfaction efforts moving forward.
Gathering Patient Satisfaction Information
There are a number of ways to figure out what patients like and don’t like about your practice. The easiest way is to ask patients to fill out surveys. There, you can ask patients how satisfied they were with different aspects of your practice, such as wait times, time spent with the doctor, etc. It’s also helpful to include a comment box to get more specific information about what patients like and don’t like.
The best way to administer surveys is to ask patients to fill them out while they’re in your office. Patients are more likely to fill out the survey in-office because they don’t have to remember to do it later. However, if that doesn’t fit into your practice’s workflow, you can also email the survey or send by mail after the appointment. Just make sure that patients have opted in to receive these communications first.
Another way to gather information about patient satisfaction information is to look at the various review site listings for your practice and your physicians. These types of sites have grown very popular in recent years, and patients are typically very open in their review comments, explaining what they liked and didn’t like about the experience.
From your online review comments and survey responses, you can start to figure out what your practice is doing really well, and where you need to improve.
What to Do with Patient Satisfaction Information
Gathering patient satisfaction information empowers your practice to do more of the things that keep patients happy, while working to improve the things that frustrate patients.
If your practice is doing something really well, make sure to let your staff know. Encourage them to keep up the good work. When you keep up a good reputation for your practice, patients will continue to sing your praises and recommend you to others.
If you see a common theme among negative comments, such as a rude office staff member or long wait times, it’s important to do what you can to improve. Often, you’ll find that patients leave a practice for reasons that are not directly related to treatment. This is something that we see quite often when monitoring online reviews for the practices we work with. A patient may be very satisfied with treatment, but often rude staff members and long wait times are dealbreakers. If you know that patients are leaving your practice for a particular reason, you should work to improve those issues however you can.
Some of the negatives are out of your control. You may not always be able to control your schedule, but perhaps you could offer conveniences like online check-in forms to reduce patient wait times in your office. If your office staff is causing issues with patients, it may be time for more thorough training on helping patients.
Ultimately, this is your practice’s reputation on the line. It’s important to know what your current patients think of your practice so that you can continue to make improvements, both for new and existing patients.
When patients see that you truly care about their experience at your practice, your reputation will help you market your practice.