Research shows that the quality of communication between providers and patients plays an especially critical role not only in patient satisfaction, but also in treatment success and sustained health — and the correlation rings particularly true for patients with chronic conditions.
According to the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), “powerful market and regulatory trends, combined with increasing evidence linking patient experience to important clinical and business outcomes, make a compelling case for improving patient experience.”
In other words, when it comes to patient satisfaction (especially with care-related communication), the stakes are high for healthcare providers and their clients alike. A poor patient experience, which can be exacerbated by inefficient communication practices, can negatively affect a practice’s success and cause patients’ commitment to their health to wane.
“A growing demand among patients for an enhanced service experience and greater participation in their health care is placing further pressure on health care systems to find ways to become more patient-centered,” according to the same AHRQ data.
Using an automated communication system at your practice is one of the best ways to invest in patient experience. At DoctorConnect, we’re proud to help our customers achieve the success that results from efficient processes. Let’s take a look at how the following features can improve the way you engage with your clientele, and ultimately retain patients by increasing overall satisfaction.
1. Appointment reminders
Several studies demonstrate that appointment reminders, and automated text message reminders in particular, improve patient attendance rates when compared to patients who do not receive such reminders. With the capability to send and receive text, email, and voice messages, the DoctorConnect system gives your patients control over their own communication preferences. They can then instantly confirm or cancel and reschedule their appointment date and time, allowing them to stay on top of their own care in real time.
2. Easy reschedules
If a patient becomes too busy to attend a previously scheduled appointment, they surely won’t want to spend precious time navigating a phone tree or playing voicemail tag to set up a new visit. In addition to freeing patients to take charge of their health by staying on top of appointments, the automated DoctorConnect system minimizes inconvenience to patients if they must reschedule a missed or standing appointment. Each mode of communication is two-way, so as soon as a patient receives a reminder about an appointment they can no longer attend, they can follow a straightforward text, email, or voice prompt to immediately secure an optimal date and time.
3. Timely waitlist notifications
High-volume practices require especially streamlined processes in order to accommodate the entire patient base. When appointments are in high demand, patients may choose to join a waitlist in case cancellations free up earlier appointment dates and times. When a space opens up for the taking, providers will often tap into the waitlist on a first-come, first-served basis — so responsiveness is key and time is of the essence. Timely, automatic waitlist notifications can make the difference between a patient receiving early treatment versus waiting weeks or months for a high-demand appointment. Filling cancelled or empty appointments is one the most efficient ways to increase clinic revenue.
4. Efficient staff, satisfied clients
In addition to its several patient-facing features, DoctorConnect essentially doubles as an additional, virtual staff member. Staff can use the fully integrated dashboard to access, update, and organize detailed appointment calendars and patient records with just a few clicks. The comprehensive software interface, combined with DoctorConnect’s automated patient communication tools, allows staff to streamline administrative responsibilities and invest more energy in high-quality face time with clients. Increased efficiency equates to the customized, attentive care necessary to sustain overall patient satisfaction.
5. Patient surveys
Show your patients you care about their healthcare experience. Follow-up surveys encourage patient feedback and demonstrate that your practice is proactively addressing any necessary improvements. DoctorConnect quality of care surveys can be sent to each patient the day after an appointment, and participants can choose to take advantage of the opportunity to sound off about their satisfaction levels. Providers can then use this vital information to further refine the all-important patient experience.
6. Customized communications
When it comes to patient communication, one size does not fit all. While some patients may be accustomed to personal voicemail, others may ignore their inbox and favor a quick text message. It can be difficult to ensure each patient is receiving important notifications that resonate with their personal communication style. Fortunately, DoctorConnect allows staff to input individualized specifications. Patients can receive notifications in their preferred language and via their preferred method: email, text, phone, or a combination.
7. Keep up with payments
DoctorConnect patient messaging allows each practice to customize the way they cater to patient experience. Your staff can set up a variety of “rules” that trigger automated messages, and payment reminders are an especially popular use for this feature. Patients appreciate status updates on outstanding bills so they can avoid late balances. Payment due date reminders and past due notifications help clients avoid financial headaches.
8. Confirm at the touch of a button
Instead of playing phone tag while trying to reach your office during business hours, your patients can conveniently confirm an appointment via text message or email. It’s as easy as owning a phone or having access to a web browser, and it’s just another way to make your patients’ lives — and their care experience — that much better.