In the increasingly competitive healthcare space, establishing loyalty and improving the patient experience has become a priority for providers. In no area is this truer than the highly competitive, consumer-driven on-demand care space. In fact, a recent survey revealed that patients are five times more likely to select a practice because they’ve had a positive experience there rather than traditional marketing tools, highlighting a key driver of patient loyalty.
Patients are increasingly expecting a seamless and enjoyable urgent care visit, and this trend will only grow in prevalence as the on-demand space continues to gain popularity. Built upon the foundation of being patient-centric, it has become clear that establishing loyalty and trust is vital for urgent care clinics to survive, and in fact, thrive. To succeed in doing so, providers must focus on identifying ways to improve the overall patient experience.
Let’s look at the top three ways on-demand care providers can improve the patient experience to remain competitive and successful:
1. Utilize the true value of patient engagement technology
Engagement is one of the key factors in providing a positive experience and retaining loyal patients. While there are many solutions available, the differentiators become unclear and many have over-promised value while under-delivering the functionality needed to attain it. For engagement that drives value, providers need to make it a priority to engage patients before, during and after their visit.
For a positive experience before a visit, implement solutions that offer online patient self-scheduling, appointment updates, transparency into current wait times and text reminders. All these services help empower patients and enable a smoother visit once they arrive.
To show you value your patients’ opinion, administer non-invasive post-visit surveys. For the imperfect experiences, providers are equipped with feedback for real-time service recovery. Utilizing technology to engage patients proactively provides consistent, valuable information on what is working or how to improve operations for future visits. In addition to helping build relationships and increase loyalty, this simple step increases revenue over time by directly impacting a higher customer return rate and patient referrals.
2. Tailoring technology to work for your clinic
Choosing the right EHR solution is critical because it can significantly impact a clinic’s entire workflow. The urgent care patient experience must be optimized across the entire business, so it’s important to choose solutions that can be customized to not only meet the unique needs of the industry but also of each specific company. By customizing and tailoring solutions, the delivery of care becomes seamless for both clinic staff and patients through consistent and streamlined operations.
For physicians, inefficient charting processes can cause distractions during an appointment and lead to delays in seeing their next patient. To remedy this inconvenience, clinics can use a tablet-based, purpose-built EHR solution and customize the interface to display only what they need. By being able to quickly and easily complete patients’ charts in real-time during a visit, physicians can focus their time and attention back toward what’s most important: the patient.
Providing an efficient front desk experience is vital, as it sets the tone for the entire care experience. Choosing intuitive, automated practice management technology helps clinics deliver a consistently seamless care experience from check-in to check-out. With the ability to verify insurance in real-time, register patients, view balances, estimate patient responsibility and improve front desk collections, a clinic can eliminate unwelcomed surprises from the experience every time.
3. Invest time and resources to properly train clinic staff
Aside from the technology that drives the business, the patient experience relies heavily on the people who run the clinic. If all staff from the front desk to the billing department are fully trained, they will be in the best position to deliver a better urgent care experience for patients. Therefore, it is so important to have a strong hands-on training and orientation program and make it clear what employee’s tasks and expectations are upfront.
Training becomes especially valuable when it comes to learning the EHR platform used in the facility. By ensuring each person has a thorough understanding of the ins-and-outs of the software, an efficient door-to-door experience is improved for patients as well.
While there are many steps that can be taken to improve upon and deliver a positive patient experience, having the necessary technology and staff training in place play an essential role to keep an urgent care running optimally and smoothly. By prioritizing and optimizing the patient experience, providers are able to remain competitive and successful in the on-demand care space.
Matt Blosl is the Chief Revenue Officer for DocuTAP, one of the nation’s fastest-growing healthcare technology companies and provider of electronic medical records (EMR) and practice management (PM) software for urgent care clinics.