As Generation X’ers and Millenials become driving factors in the economic climate and become more active consumers in the healthcare industry, medical professionals are challenged to give them what they want: a better patient experience. These patients want to be engaged, they want options, they want to feel valued and they want to be involved in their healthcare. With the internet and the ability to be connected and sharing information 24/7, these patients also realize they have options and they will look elsewhere in hopes of a better experience. Practices, hospitals and clinics are becoming acutely aware for this demographic of patient, it is all about the experience.
The challenge arises when medical professionals decide to the measure the experience provided by their practice, clinic or hospital. Patient satisfaction surveys, in some institutions are a necessity, but they do not always provide the valuable insight into the patients’ psyche needed to improve the overall patient experience. Regardless, for this group of patients, satisfaction is no longer enough. To make shifts within a health services organization, leaders must understand what their patients are seeking from them, beyond their health needs. They must know how patients perceive their practice and what would motivate them to become a loyal, referring patient of the organization.
One of the most powerful evaluation tools available to health services organizations to measure patient perceptions is medical mystery shopping. “Medical mystery shopping evaluates an organization on key patient touch points throughout the appointment interaction process,” says Jamie Verkamp, Director of Growth and Development at (e)Merge, “it is this feedback from the shoppers that allows organizations to make important changes to their patient touch points that enhance their patients’ experiences and truly give them what they desire: a better patient experience.” The secret shoppers performing medical mystery shopping services represent the key demographics targeted by the health organization, therefore their input and feedback directly relates the perceptions of the real patients of that organization. Armed with the knowledge of their patients’ perceptions and their desires for a better patient experience, health organizations can make much needed improvements and see the results from these efforts, which include improved patient satisfaction scores and an increase in patient referral volume from their newly loyal patients.
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