Healthcare is an industry based on constant need. The security of the healthcare market comes from the idea that everyone needs and will continue to need health care. However, accepting this concept as a means on job security and a right to avoid enhancing your organization will bring about the downfall of your practice. Here are four flaws medical practices have that hold them back and may ultimately lead to failure.
While there is in fact a need for health care, most patients are met with a variety of choices within their market. Additionally, those unsatisfied with the options available are continuing to increase their willingness to travel for appointments and procedures based upon a desire for better care. There are a range of opportunities to ensure potential patients qualify your practice as a candidate for care. Spreading the word throughout the community can be achieved through the use of print or direct mail advertisements, sponsorship of a local team or even interviews with your physicians on area radio stations to create recognition. Patients must first know your practice exists before they will know to bring their health care needs to you.
In many cases, when practice staff members are asked if patients are satisfied, they shrug and say, “Yeah. I think so.” When it comes to patient satisfaction, numbers and facts speak much louder than the opinions of those providing experiences. If your patients are leaving the office with unresolved issues, poor staff interactions and a desire to not return, your practice should know. Every patient’s experience and opinion is important, as they are the influencers within the community. Learning what the strengths and weaknesses of the practice are can lead to the development of better processes, meaningful staff training and the improvement of service as a whole.
Keeping up to date with online reviews can be a helpful way to check up on patient satisfaction. It is important to monitor the information provided about your practice, to not only work to fix errors found, but also work toward resolving negative experiences patients have posted about. While most sites do not allow responses to reviews, administrators can work to identify the patient posting the comment and work backward to communicate with them and further discuss the issue encountered. Failing to monitor what is being said online about your organization can allow for inaccurate information to influence patients; both current and potential.
With a plethora of options at their reach, patients have a growing number of practices and healthcare organizations to choose from. Practices not taking the time to actively engage patients are putting themselves at risk of losing valuable consumers. As practices focus their efforts on creating a better patient experience through increased customer service, greater access to health information and a more convenient process for patients; those failing to evolve and integrate comparable practices will be left with patients feeling no connection to the organization. While many patients will continue to bring their care to your organization, they will not take the extra steps of referring your physicians and practice when asked by peers. Healthcare relies so heavily upon referrals; this is not something practices should leave to chance. Take the extra time to engage patients in their care and inspire them to tell others about the exceptional service they receive.
Just as other industries evolve and adjust, healthcare must strive to do the same. Consumers are in a constant state of change and those businesses unable or willing to grow with them will naturally faze themselves out. Much like the cassette tape, healthcare organizations without convenient, digital options will become overlooked. While it isn’t always necessary to be the most innovating, it is important to keep a pulse on what consumers (patients) are wanting and adapt to provide in a way that meets those desires.
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