7 Surefire Ways to Improve Patient Satisfaction at your PT Practice

Patient satisfaction improves retention and helps drive new patients to your practice by way of referral. With some simple steps, you can boost patient satisfaction.

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Patient Satisfaction = Retention, Referrals, and Revenue

Whether you own a start-up, mid-sized or large PT practice, it's important to deliver the best possible experiences for your patients and improve patient satisfaction in the long run. Of course, there are many factors that go into achieving patient satisfaction – so this can often be difficult. Have you considered that you may not be getting more clients because you don’t have the right tools of the trade for your business? When basics such as scheduling, billing, reporting, appointment reminders, regular updates about your practice and information on each patient’s condition are stored in one place, it helps improves efficiency and allows you to keep track of clients’ feedback in real-time. Small to large-sized practices, including private practices experiencing higher levels of growth, should consider adopting technology to help automate these tasks to improve overall satisfaction. Here are seven easy ways to create a more caring and patient-centric practice to improve patient satisfaction.

1. Clear Communication

Effective communication between patients and healthcare providers is not only necessary but can help provide instant answers to customer's concerns to further improve patient satisfaction. Pay attention to how your patients and staff communicate and respond to them appropriately. Software for private PT practices comes in handy to securely message staff quickly and communicate with patients effectively via text messaging, online portals and email. It also increases access to information including online medical records, which can improve self-monitoring and patient convenience. An overall happier staff means better communication, which translates to better patient care. When working to improve communication with patients, make sure your staff provides excellent service too. Introduce a patient satisfaction survey to track how satisfied your patients are with the quality of service and communication with staff and doctors. Under the VBP programs, patient experience is determined by the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey which is among the most recognized patient satisfaction survey in this sector. Ensure your PT website is easy to navigate and provides patients with the information they need. For a start, including an FAQ section on your site with questions and answers that patients ask most frequently. Also, include common forms on your website where the patient can download and fill out before their appointment. In addition, use social media and email campaigns to provide outreach and to market your brand.

2. Faster Appointment Check-Ins

Staff members who manage most of the practice’s non-clinical work, especially the front desk, are critical to improving patient experiences. In fact, studies show that patients who left negative reviews often did so because of negative experiences with the front desk staff, wait time, physical environment, billing and appointment access. When patients walk into your practice, the front desk staff should welcome them with a friendly smile and provide a quick check-in. To improve the patient experience in your PT practice, make sure you have reliable software that sends automatic reminders to patients for their next appointment; this can be via email or text message. Also, ensure appointments are easy to book and stick to the schedule to avoid keeping patients waiting longer than expected. Long wait times can lead to major frustrations for your patients, and they may opt to look for more convenient, customer-friendly options. If there's an emergency, make an effort to inform patients about the situation immediately and provide an updated wait time.

3. Fast, Customizable and Personalized Documentation

Personalized healthcare begins with action from the physical therapist, even before the patient books an appointment. It makes a great difference to patients, and they are more likely to feel cared for if you address them by their name, understand their medical history, and recommend personalized treatment plans for them. This is possible with software that can create customizable physical therapy EMR templates. Moving to a system that allows you to take full control of your documentation is all you need to improve the patient experience. Furthermore, such a system will provide instant access to patient profiles, notes and documents instantly that will be needed at the front desk, during treatment, and in the billing office. Besides being a convenient process, it saves time and ensures you attend to your patients within their timeline which leads to greater customer satisfaction.

4. Convenient Payments

Even with excellent care and great customer experience, a complicated and inconvenient billing process can still lead to a poor review of your service. Dissatisfaction can arise from bills with errors, unexpected charges on their bills, charges that arrive late and an outdated payment process which makes it difficult for patients to pay for their care. To improve the billing process for your practice, implement a seamless payment software. Educate your staff on how to address billing concerns including payment options, charges and general billing questions. Let patients know what the actual cost of the care with no hidden costs. Allow patients to talk to a representative in the financial department before a medical procedure so that they can understand the costs, insurance coverage and help them develop a payment plan which meets their needs. The billing process should also be simple and seamless. If patients find out the payment process is easy, they are more likely to pay on time and in full. Allow them to pay their bills online to make the process fast and convenient. Online payment services allow you to send bills on time and track payments more accurately.

5. Personalized Patient Experience

Patients want to feel comfortable during their visit. With the help of automated systems such as patient portals, text reminders, smartphone apps, videos, voice mail messages and emails, healthcare providers can easily access a patient’s information including medical history, preferences, demographics and feedback from previous appointments to get a clear picture of what the person needs. Using this information, they can create a personalized treatment plan that works for a specific patient. Personalizing the patient experience is not only a great experience, but also makes them feel engaged in their care and recovery.

6. Accessible Resources and Education

By providing accessible learning resources to educate patients, healthcare providers can improve patient experience and provide better care. Address any questions related to symptoms or treatment plans and provide them with the resources they need for quick recovery. Direct them to any resources that may be available on your website. Don’t forget to interact with them online to build a long-term relationship and greater trust in your practice.

7. Patient Satisfaction Surveys Are Integral in Improving Patient Satisfaction

It’s hard to know whether you’re offering the right services unless you ask. To establish an effective bottom line for patient satisfaction, you need to start by creating a patient satisfaction survey. For instance, provide a patient satisfaction survey to establish whether patients are happy and satisfied with the service they get. These surveys are designed to help healthcare providers identify gaps, develop quality improvement strategies and serve as a balance to ensure changes in personal care delivery don’t negatively affect the patient experience. When it comes to patient experience, HCAHPS surveys are the most popularly used. These surveys allow physical therapists and other healthcare providers to collect patient experience information. This allows them to make objective and meaningful decisions as well as improvements to the patient experience. Allow patients to fill in these surveys at the time of appointment, during checkout or as part of the discharge process. Send follow up emails after an appointment with links to online patient satisfaction surveys. Also, incorporate rewards and incentives for patients who fill out the survey to get as much feedback as possible.

The Bottom Line

Indeed, there are many factors that should be taken into account to achieve greater patient experience. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to improving the patient experience, implementing the right software for your practice and taking the right steps to create a great experience will increase satisfaction. Interactions with patients, identifying potential sources of negative experiences and providing technology-enabled solutions that meet the patient's demand can go a long way in boosting patient experience, which further translates to higher patient retention for your practice.

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