Sunday, April 14, 2024
CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - CEO Advisory - Run a Medical Business? Patient Experience Should Be Your Highest Priority

CEO Advisory

Run a Medical Business? Patient Experience Should Be Your Highest Priority

Dr. Khuong Nguyen

Patient experience is paramount for a medical business to retain existing patients and grow through first-person testimonials. Positive experiences shared on social media networks and online review platforms.

While the in-office visit was once the central point of contact and the focus of patient-centered efforts, it quickly became a component. This makes branching out the management of the entire patient experience from initial provider searches to appointment scheduling, office visit, immediate follow-up care, and long-term monitoring essential for sustained positive interactions. Various innovative solutions exist to assist with more task-intensive aspects of the experience, freeing up staff for necessary escalations and duties.

Better experiences improve patient outcomes

Healthcare providers stay focused on outcomes across all areas, and improving the full patient experience is key. A positive visit or a meaningful interaction outside of a traditional appointment can help a patient navigate through long-term condition management or preventative care needs.

For example, checking in via a text message regarding a prescription refill or coordinating a referral to another office helps patients stay on top of managing their healthcare needs in a way that makes sense compared with other areas of their life.

Messaging systems coordinate care

Technological innovations, such as healthcare text messaging systems or internal messaging via patient management portals, allow individuals to check in with a healthcare provider for non-urgent matters when it suits their schedule. This makes it easier to manage preventative care for the patient and the medical facility outside of back-and-forth exchanges over the phone or medically unnecessary office visits.

For healthcare facilities with limited staffing, the benefits are immediate. The patient experience is improved when staff can respond to messages more efficiently than managing a list of phone calls and an extended back and forth of procuring essential details. Information gathering and verification are all handled within the portal. For well-staffed facilities, the automation and ability to review key patient data when replying helps ensure a comprehensive review and frees up extra staff energy for handling digital requests from patients, improved patient care during a visit, and additional efforts within the business to improve outcomes.

Outcomes can also be improved within the messaging by promoting preventative care, ensuring patients are meeting necessary milestones in any recovery process, and coordinating referrals and consultations more promptly. In some instances, timely messages and automated responses after hours guiding patients to emergency care can also be lifesavers or help patients avoid unnecessary complications due to an illness.

With improved outcomes, patient loyalty can increase, making it easier to provide ongoing care and maintain a preferred level of patient volume.

Reminders keep patients informed.

For keeping up with sometimes hard-to-reach patients, messaging systems work both ways, and automated reminders for upcoming appointments can help patients more effectively coordinate time off at work, family obligations, and other variables before the day of an appointment. These reminders are often easy to set up and maintain in patient care systems and can generate text reminders at pre-specified intervals before an appointment.

In practices such as dentistry, where cancelations leave space for efficiently working in appointments for individuals with more urgent needs, the ability to cancel or reschedule appointments days in advance helps staff better plan patient flow. It provides a better experience for all involved — employees, the patient canceling, and any patients who can receive needed care earlier than anticipated.

Reminders can also tie into the billing system, send patients routine reminders of any balances due, and provide access to an accessible portal for reviewing the costs of care online and instantly remitting payment upon viewing a text or app alert. With most industries now providing online access to essential services, medical businesses cannot afford to stick to a paper trail-only system, and patients expect these features.

Positive patient experiences help staff

Having high-quality staff is essential to providing the best patient experience possible. Conversely, improving patient experience makes it easier for staff to perform at high levels. With more effective patient management and care strategies, employee stressors are generally reduced, and workers can stay focused on patient care. Satisfaction with the job can increase employee satisfaction and, ultimately, reduce turnover when an effective balance is reached.

It’s always important to ensure any patient management tools function as intended without unnecessary downtime for maintenance. Also, avoid frequent switches between systems or overcommunication to avoid introducing new technological pain points to the care experience.

Written by Dr. Khuong Nguyen, the leader of a successful dental practice, shares insights on improving patient experience for medical business owners.
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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - CEO Advisory - Run a Medical Business? Patient Experience Should Be Your Highest Priority
Dr. Khuong Nguyen
Dr. Khuong Nguyen is a board-certified pediatric dentist and the owner and operator of Clairemont Pediatric Dental, located in San Diego, California. Dr. Nguyen has practiced dentistry as a practice owner and operator for more than 19 years.

Dr. Khuong Nguyen is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Connect with him through LinkedIn.