7 Tested Techniques for Improving Patient Satisfaction Scores

Improving patient satisfaction is key to building a strong patient-provider relationship, boosting patient engagement, improving the overall health outcomes, and adding to the bottom line of your healthcare practice. 

Patients with a satisfactory experience are more likely to adhere to the prescribed treatment plan, make follow-up appointments, and stick to them and help spread positive word of mouth by recommending it to their friends and acquaintances. 

Patient satisfaction levels extend through the entire continuum of care, right from the moment they schedule their appointment, to the diagnosis, treatment, billing, and follow-ups. Here is a list of tried and tested techniques for ramping up the patient satisfaction scores for your healthcare practice. 

1. Make booking appointments a hassle-free experience 

The foundation of a good patient experience starts even before the patient ever puts a foot in the clinic. How easy or difficult it is to schedule an appointment forms the basis of the level of patient satisfaction. Do the patients have to rely on old school ways of calling and booking their appointment or do you use technology to streamline their experience and make it hassle-free? 

As mobile phones become ubiquitous, having the ease to schedule appointments at the tips of their fingertips can give the patient satisfaction scores a much-needed boost. According to a recent research report, 55.5 percent of patients reported that ease of getting an appointment had a major impact on their levels of satisfaction, making it the variable with the highest weightage. 

Source: US National Library of Medicine

An appointment scheduling portal, either in the form of a web application or a mobile app gives patients the power over appointment booking and reduces the chances of patient no-shows. It gives greater transparency into the schedule and empowers them to select a slot that is feasible for them. 

Related: The Clinician’s Guide To Reducing No-Show Appointments

2. Aim for shorter wait times

The longer the patients have to wait before seeing the doctor, the lower the satisfaction levels get. In the same research report cited above, reducing waiting time in the clinic is the third most important variable for patient satisfaction scores. 

Reducing the duration of the wait times is something that every medical practice strives for. Technology has proven to help in this regard as well. Self-service kiosks at the reception area can eliminate the need for dedicated staff to get the patients to fill up the documentation. Focusing on EHR interoperability can reduce the need for paperwork at entry, reducing the waiting time. 

Travel to and from the medical practice also adds up to the patient’s time. According to a Harvard Medical School study, the average time for a doctor’s visit is 121 minutes. Out of these, 37 minutes are spent traveling to the clinic. Telemedicine can help eliminate this commute time in the routine, non-emergent cases and add the element of efficiency in the patient consultations. It is also a great tool for routine follow-up appointments of the patients that reduces the burden of patient no-shows. 

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Setting Up a Telemedicine Business

3. Help patients navigate the hospital premises better

Hospital hallways can be confusing for patients. Having dedicated staff to direct the patients may not be a cost-effective solution and physical signages may not always work. Leveraging technology to help navigate through the premises is a great way of ramping up the patient experience while keeping the costs in check. A wayfinding app can directly result in enhanced visitor experience

“Right this way”- a wayfinding application custom-built for Mercy Health Cincinnati has proven to improve the experience of visitors and patients alike. Technological advances in the field of healthcare mobile app development have put medical navigation at the forefront of innovation. By custom developing a wayfinding app, you not only stand to improve the patient satisfaction scores, but also rank among the industry leaders as a pioneer and trendsetter in the field of medical technology. 

4. Lay the foundation of positive patient-provider interactions

Technology has proven to be the foundation for improving patient-provider relationships. The use of EHRs for easy access to patient data and use of visual representation of data in the form of graphs and charts has proven to boost patient’s comprehension of their ailment, the treatment protocol being followed and the outcomes visible. 

Strong patient-provider relationships drive better health outcomes. Technology needs to add value to this and not draw away from in-person interactions. While Electronic Medical Records have the potential to streamline hospital interactions, there’s always a risk of adding to the physician’s burden. There is also the question of patient data security and compliance to HIPAA and other regulatory norms. 

5. Use technology to boost patient engagement

Patients who are actively involved in their own treatment have proven to fare better than those that aren’t. The medication adherence rates, attendance at follow-up appointments are much higher. Patient engagement solutions can encompass a range of technology solutions all aimed at ramping up the patient engagement rates. Not only do they streamline patient education and engagement, but they also have an impact on patient satisfaction scores. 

The use of mobile apps and tablets in conjugation with technology like Augmented and Virtual Reality can help physicians explain the ailments in a more comprehensible manner. Access to reliable educational resources and patient-centric applications can give patient engagement a huge boost. AI in the form of healthcare chatbots is also one powerful way to engage patients and boost patient satisfaction levels through technological innovation. 

6. Streamline the billing and insurance reimbursement

While the diagnosis, admission and treatment may have gone seamlessly, friction in the billing process may cause the overall satisfaction levels to drop. To avoid this, the billing process needs to be smooth and hassle-free. Identify the bottlenecks in the process that may be causing delays and work towards eliminating them. 

Patient feedback surveys are a great way of laying down a feedback loop. The insights derived from the survey data can be leveraged to improve on the existing processes. Whether you adopt a standalone medical billing software or have it integrated within the hospital management software of your choice, efficiency during the billing process is a prerequisite for high levels of patient satisfaction. 

Closing words

Healthcare organizations need to be fully patient-centric to ensure high levels of patient satisfaction and technology helps accomplish that goal. No matter what stage of the digital transformation journey you are in, a consultation with the technology experts is always a good idea. With 9+ years of experience in healthcare software development and a range of success stories in our portfolio, Arkenea ranks among the top healthcare app development companies.

Have questions about ideation and implementation of software for boosting patient satisfaction? Get in touch with us today.

Vinati Kamani
 

Dr Vinati Kamani writes about emerging technology and its application across industries for Arkenea. She is an avid reader and self proclaimed bibliophile. When Vinati is not at her desk penning down articles or reading up on the recent trends, she can be found travelling to remote places and soaking up different cultural experiences.