In order to know the importance of patient satisfaction, we must first find out what patient satisfaction is exactly. It can be described as an indicator of the treatment a patient receives. This does not only include the quality of the care they are provided with. Instead, it also includes the contentment a patient may feel after the treatment. This indicator is proving to be an important determinant of a hospital’s effectiveness. Day by day, its importance is brought to light which is why hospitals are more likely to hire a medical billing company to streamline their processes.
This has resulted in patient satisfaction becoming one of the top three priorities of healthcare executives. Are they right in their approach? If yes, then what are the steps that a hospital can take to improve patient satisfaction?
Why It Matters?
A patient does not like to exercise patience when they visit doctors. Frustration seeps in easily which can result in them simply leaving for home instead of waiting. To make sure that the patient does not reach such a stage, the hospital staff must remain conscious. They should be aware of their moves at all times. In case they are unable to do so, the patient will get agitated and leave. This is why hospitals are now paying extra attention to patient satisfaction. After all, the loss of a client is something every organization hopes to avoid.
- Instills Patient Loyalty
A good experience can last a lifetime. This means that if everything is executed well, a patient is bound to come back again. This is especially applicable in terms of healthcare facilities. Switching medical facilities is less likely to occur if the patient is content with the services they receive. On the other hand, if the first impression is a bad one, you may lose a patient forever. This can be problematic for the hospital as its future is at stake.
- One Satisfied Patient Means Improved Repute
Word of mouth is a major marketing tool in the healthcare industry. This means that a single patient may help to pull in a number of other patients. This can include their family members as well as friends. Therefore, a satisfied customer may do free marketing for you. According to surveys, it has been said that the positive experiences of patients are shared with approximately five other people. Dissatisfaction can have the opposite of this effect and on an even greater scale. The risk involved in this scenario can be eliminated through logical steps.
- Effects on Clinical Outcomes
Clinical Outcomes can be explained as the effectiveness of the treatment received due to trust in the physician. A satisfied patient is more likely to reap the benefits of the treatment provided to him or her. A basis of trust can help the patient feel more comfortable with the treatment a physician gives. Hence, the job of the doctor also becomes an easier one.
Steps to Take for Patient Satisfaction
- Adding in a Personal Touch
When we think of a hospital, we automatically imagine a cold and sterile place. We think of it as an unemotional facility where the staff moves from patient to patient. This image is what most hospitals adopt but that does not mean they cannot be personal in their operations. Studies conducted show that physicians aim to gain respect from their patients. However, it is a two-way street, therefore it is important to treat patients in the correct manner.
Patients wish to be treated and engaged with on a personal level. Physicians usually consider it to be conflicting with being objective but it is not impossible to balance both qualities. Foremost, a doctor must ensure that they do not come off as if they don’t care. Actions that may contribute to such an uncaring attitude include:
- Avoiding eye contact
- Refusal to shake hands
- Not asking how the patient is
Shaking hands may seem like a simple gesture but is it has proven to be impactful. It should not be ignored as it can help leave a good first impression, instilling a sense of comfort.
- Effects of a Happy Staff
Communication is an important part of many industries due to its various advantages. The healthcare industry can also enjoy these benefits with proper execution. A hospital stays for a patient means interactions with an approximate amount of 50-60 employees. In order to ensure that these interactions leave behind a positive impact, the staff must be welcoming. A cold unapproachable medical staff can amplify the feelings of anxiety and annoyance a person has in a hospital setting. This emphasizes the importance of happy providers. Services of a professional medical billing company can help in reducing the workload and inducing a positive attitude change.
- Time Management
Patients do not look forward to hospital visits as they believe it to be a time-consuming activity. The majority of people feel frustrated with the long wait times in hospitals. This frustration can negatively impact their overall hospital experience. It can also make them impatient about other aspects of the hospital environment. It also negatively impacts the anxiety a patient may feel as their health is on line.
To tackle this issue, doctors can take two approaches. One includes the minimization of the frustration that a person feels after all the wait. This can be solved with a simple apology which has proven to be quite helpful. Moreover, letting the patients know about the actual wait time can calm them. They will be aware of their status as they stand in the queue. On the other hand, hospitals can also approach this problem with the help of technology. The queue management system can help the hospital achieve the personal service they wish to have.
Patient satisfaction can, therefore, be helpful for both the business and the clients. It is a difficult and tricky process at points but a necessary one. It can help make the world a better and healthier place.