Many medical practices are realizing the importance of measuring patient satisfaction. It’s important to maintain a certain patient volume to keep your practice up and running, and keeping your patients happy is part of doing that.
To that point, many practices have implemented some sort of patient survey system to determine a patient satisfaction score. However, you have to go beyond just collecting the data to actually have it make a difference in your practice.
To truly improve satisfaction, you have to place your focus not on the scores themselves, but on what they actually mean. Those numbers may look nice in a report as a quick fact or displayed on your website, but they don’t actually mean anything if that’s all you do with the data.
With the right focus and action, patient satisfaction scores can be a valuable tool to help you achieve your business goals.
Why Patient Satisfaction is Good for Business
Just as with any other type of business, when your patients are happy, they’ll keep coming back. Likewise, patients who are very unhappy with your practice are more likely to seek out another practice. Patients are becoming more and more like consumers in this way. Ultimately, losing patients hurts your bottom line.
Patient satisfaction scores can help you gauge how well you’re doing overall, and they may be able to help you identify trends and areas of improvement. Common trends on the negative end of patient surveys often stem from things like wait times, time spent with the doctor, and experience with front desk/office staff. While it’s impossible to keep 100% of patients happy, if you’re noticing trends like these, it’s good for your business to work on improving them.
There may be some factors out of your control, but there are other things that you can make a conscious effort to improve. For example, if patients commonly give low scores for your office staff, that is a problem that can be improved, either through better training or better hiring processes. When patients have a problem with your staff’s attitudes, that can be bad for business. If you look at patient reviews online, you’ll find many that chose to find a new doctor solely based on how they were treated by the staff.
Once you figure out the true meaning behind your patient satisfaction scores, it’s time to put that information into action.
Turning Scores into True Patient Satisfaction & Business Success
If you want your patient satisfaction scores to actually mean something for your practice, you have to align those scores with your business goals.
For example, if your primary business goal is retaining current patients, you can look to patient satisfaction score to tell you why unhappy patients might be leaving. If your goal is gaining new patients, your patient satisfaction scores can give you an idea of your practice’s reputation in the community.
When you align patient satisfaction with your practice’s business goals, you can create plans to address issues and work to improve not just your scores, but actually keep your patients happy. This should, in turn, help you meet your business goals.
It’s true that medicine has become commercialized in a way. With that, there are a lot of changes that have to be made in the way that medical practices operate if they want to keep up. However, the practices that are truly invested in patient satisfaction not only have a better chance of meeting business goals, but also develop loyal patients and a great reputation, thus setting themselves up for more business down the road.