Patient satisfaction, the patient experience and your bottom line

The patient experience (PX) is defined by every interaction between the patient and your organization; it begins at the first touch-point and continues for the duration of the relationship. It includes scheduling appointments, office visits, the check-out process, web-portal utilization, phone communications, urgent care services, and telehealth services.

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There are several compelling reasons why your practice should be concerned about patient satisfaction and the patient experience:

  1. It’s part of CMS’s Quality Strategy Goals
  2. By focusing on patient experience you can increase patient loyalty
  3. You can improve your bottom line

The healthcare industry is in the midst of a quantum shift in how providers are reimbursed for their services. As we transition from a fee-for-service reimbursement model to a value-based reimbursement model the way in which we measure success also needs to change. It can be tempting to only consider the specific Quality Measures outlined by CMS for reimbursement. However, developing a broader strategy of delivering an outstanding customer experience will push your practice to the top.

In the business world, executives understand that the customer experience is the key to effective marketing and customer retention. Furthermore, when customers rate their experience, more than 50% of that rating is based upon an emotional connection.

This is incredible, because the wait time, price, and convenience factors all pale in comparison to how the customer “feels” about the service. This is a huge opportunity for healthcare practices to increase their patient satisfaction and patient experience scores! The first step is providing excellent customer service. Simply providing friendly, helpful service will improve your customer service rating and patient satisfaction. Next, how you deliver on the promises you made, providing proactive solutions, and exceeding expectations will improve your overall patient experience.

Once you’ve started to develop a strategy to improve the patient experience, the next step is identifying your most valuable customers. In the healthcare sector we tend to think of patients as patients, not as customers, but in reality people have a variety of choices when it comes to choosing a provider.

You’ll need to do your own research to determine exactly who your ideal customer (patient) is. Then, by focusing on attracting these patients to your practice you have the potential to improve your scores.

Perhaps they look something like this:

  • healthier
  • motivated
  • interested in collaboration
  • willing to buy-in to behavioral change
  • participates by tracking their progress
  • wants cutting-edge delivery of healthcare

So, how do you attract and retain these sorts of patients?
By engaging with them on social media, blogging, offering concierge services, providing on-demand telehealth solutions, and ultimately connecting with them emotionally by delivering an outstanding customer experience.
You have the opportunity to grow your ideal patient base by focusing on identifying this market segment, and fully connected customers are more likely to become promoters. They will do your marketing for you!
According to an article in HBR titled , “The New Science of Customer Emotions”, “customers become more valuable at each step of a predictable “emotional connection pathway” as they transition from (1) being unconnected to (2) being highly satisfied to (3) perceiving brand differentiation to (4) being fully connected.” According to the article, fully connected customer are, on average, 52% more valuable than highly satisfied customers. By identifying emotional motivators that are relevant in the healthcare industry, you can begin to tailor your messaging and services to attract and retain these valuable customers.

You may also want to check out the following:
Should You Incorporate a Clinical Pharmacist into Your Practice?         
CPC+ and the Clinical Pharmacist

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At RxLive we offer concierge telehealth services and partner with provider organizations to improve patient health and deliver outstanding patient satisfaction, elevating the overall patient experience. For more information about how we can help follow the link below.
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Kristen Engelen, PharmD
Kristen Engelen, PharmD, is the chief pharmacy officer of RxLive and a certified consultant pharmacist; she has over a decade of experience in retail pharmacy settings. Kristen became an RxLive co-founder because of her passion for geriatric pharmacy, with a focus on the intersection of pharmacy and aging.