The overall measure of a patient satisfaction score comes down to how patients feel about their care. While a patient’s impression of your facility can feel elusive, there are some tangible steps you can take to increase your patient satisfaction scores.
1. Know what kind of communication matters
Some of us are natural communicators, explaining patient care plans with clarity and empathy. But even the best of us have stressful, challenging days when communication feels rushed.
In light of this, it’s essential to know what extra steps make a difference to patients. Sometimes, the amount of time spent with a patient isn’t as significant as how you spend that time. One study found that when physicians sat down and made eye contact with patients, patients overestimated the time spent at the bedside by 1.3 minutes. In contrast, when the physician remained standing, patients underestimated time by 0.6 minutes. Understanding patient perceptions may be the most crucial aspect of improving patient experience.
2. Keep things running on time
Some factors in timing are unavoidable. But patients who are seen within 15 minutes of their appointment time report higher satisfaction scores.
It’s hard to keep your schedule running on time if your practice operations are inefficient. For example, at your ASC, how many times a week does your schedule change? How often do room assignments get updated? Are these updates done in real-time? A simple change such as implementing a digital OR board keeps all staff on the same page to minimize delays in time-to-treatment.
3. Set patient expectations
Patient satisfaction begins before a patient even steps foot in your facility. How much information do patients receive before their appointment? How prepared do they feel? Do they have accurate expectations for their surgery or pre-op appointment?
Enhance your communication strategy by using engagement software. Some of these tools allow you to directly integrate information from the patient’s medical record to personalized reminders. With automated messaging, your staff also get time back to focus on other critical tasks instead of conducting reminder phone calls.
4. Improve care coordination
A 2017 analysis found that perceived levels of teamwork have a significant impact on patient satisfaction scores. This trend is especially true among nursing staff, who often have the most direct patient contact.
With so many people involved in coordinating a patient’s care, effective collaboration is crucial. Enhanced teamwork can come from making sure that all staff members have a voice and that all understand their role in problem-solving. Ultimately, better teamwork helps patients feel more at ease, leading to high-quality, safe care, and, ideally, higher patient satisfaction scores.
5. Reach out through multiple methods
An old marketing adage says that people need to hear a message at least seven times before remembering it. When you consider how this can impact your patient satisfaction scores, you quickly realize that patients need multiple avenues of communication.
Many ASCs encounter a challenge in providing multiple channels of communication. Leaving a reminder voicemail isn’t enough anymore. A combination of text, email, video, and other strategies helps ensure that patients retain all the necessary information before their appointment. It also ensures that patients remain engaged through their follow-up care, leading to improved outcomes along with increased patient experience.
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