- How do your employees view/address patient complaints?
- Does your staff view complaints as an opportunity to satisfy patients who are unhappy with their health care experience?
- What lessons has your organization learned from patient complaints/feedback?
- What strategies does your organization have in place to respond to and/or resolve to patient concerns?
Keeping Your Website Up-to-dateAs we all know, patient experience is influenced by more than just physician-to-patient interaction. In fact, in many cases the patient experience has already begun before the first office visit. Think about it for a moment. When you want to know more about a potential healthcare provider, where do you go for more information? Most people refer to the physician’s website. It’s the first representation patients have of your organization, and you only get one opportunity to make a good first impression. Because your organization’s website is such an essential component of the patient engagement experience, all information posted to the site such as phone numbers, staff information, addresses, office hours, service descriptions, forms, payment options, etc., should be continuously updated to ensure accuracy. By providing the correct information up front on the website, health care organizations can take the initial step and display transparency to patients before their first one-on-one interaction.
Making Yourself Available to PatientsOne of the most impactful ways of communicating to patients that your organization is capable of meeting their expectations is to make it easier for patients to reach you by phone. Of course it is impossible to answer and take every single phone call as it comes in, but implementing a system that will allow patient calls to be returned within a timely manner can definitely go a long way. There are also methods of reducing call-time or making hold-time more pleasant for callers. Depending on call volume, there are various strategies such as pre-recorded voice scripts, and additional staff training that can improve accessibility, allowing patients to conveniently schedule and/or cancel appointments, receive staff check-in calls, and speak directly with physicians more often when needed.
Recognizing and Responding to Patient EmotionHealth care professionals are often faced with the task of delivering serious news to their patients with regard to an illness or condition. Such news can be overwhelming for patients and may even interfere with their ability to understand and process the information being communicated. In sensitive situations such as these, what patients often need and expect from their chosen health care professionals is for providers to display as much empathy as possible. Health care professionals who take their patients’ feelings into account are better equipped to effectively communicate and demonstrate their commitment to patients’ needs. Patient-centered care requires that health care professionals become fully engaged with their patients. By identifying communication deficiencies, health care organizations can better align themselves with patient values and effectively communicate their ability to consistently exceed expectations. In what ways has your organizations identified and improved upon patient communication? Tell us in the comments below. [i] Boykins, Anita Davis, DNSc, FNP-BC, PMHNP-BC. The ABNF Journal (2014): 40-45. Web. [ii]Wen, Leana S.,and Suhavi Tucker. “What Do People Want From Their Health Care? A Qualitative Study.” Journal of Participatory Medicine 7 (2015): 1. Web.
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