In an increasingly consumer-driven healthcare market, healthcare systems, hospitals and physician practices must create a better patient experience to impact revenue and increase patient acquisition and loyalty.
Currently the largest private radiology practice in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, Fairfax Radiological Consultants (FRC) is working to implement their most innovative program to improve patient experience. We recently spoke with Janet Hoffman, Director of Professional Operations, Risk Management and Patient Experience at FRC about the latest initiative at their 17 outpatient imaging facilities.
Now, you may recall FRC from our previous case study, which was developed after they original implemented Binary Fountain’s Binary Health Analytics platform. During that time, FRC exceeded their initial goals through patient feedback-based operational changes, achieving a 24% response rate and 3,200 completed patient surveys per month.
After the initial success with Binary Fountain, they now want to expand efforts to manage patient experience in a new initiative: Patient Experience 2.0.
Here’s what we learned about the new program:
Hi Janet, could you tell us what drove this new initiative?
The first initiative was a great success, so today we are looking to pioneer a new program in preparation for the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), the new Medicare physician reimbursement program that began this year. But most importantly, with the new initiative, we hope to create an even better all-around experience for our patients. I call it Patient Experience 2.0.
People can be very tense when they arrive at our practice. They might be waiting to hear back about the results of a cancer screening or preparing to be scanned through an MRI machine—it can be a very stressful situation. So, in this new phase the focus is on real-time service recovery and patient relations.
We want to create an atmosphere where patients feel comfortable walking in to our practice and know that we’re there to help them—we have everything under control. In order to do that, we need to make sure all outstanding issues and administrative procedures are taken care of in a timely manner.
What steps did you take to address those needs and get this initiative going?
As we’re gearing towards a MIPS model and a MIPS CAHPS survey, we’re focusing on how to make operational improvements in our office to do away with things that can cause conflicts. To do this, we’re using surveys to monitor patient experiences and using the feedback to understand where we can make further operational improvements. Binary Health Analytics is helping us do this. Our patient relations representatives reviewed survey reports to identify trends in negative responses. As a result, we can better understand what causes our patients to withhold recommending us, for example. This helps us grasp exactly where we need to make improvements.
We’ve also established a department of patient relations where we have a dedicated representative with a dedicated email for patient inquiries or comments. In patient surveys, we include that email address for people to send us any further questions or comments. This helps us to log everything through a central point to make sure all outstanding tasks are completed and nothing gets lost.
What challenges have you faced along the way? How are you addressing them?
I face a lot of my colleagues who think customer experience issues stem from customer service, and that we need people to smile when they’re at the front desk. But, that’s not what FRC is all about. I want to retool the operations at the office so that things are running as smoothly as possible. I want to do this using different approaches with technology.
A single mishap or disgruntled patient, for instance, can create a domino effect, causing the patient experience to be disappointing for everyone. So, we really want to make changes in the way patients interact with us and be more engaging before they even arrive at the front desk. We are implementing technologies that are easy to use and that will encourage people to be prepared for their appointment.
For example, we’re now asking patients to send a copy of their order before they come in for their exam. This will help us ensure that they’ve scheduled the correct procedure. We’ve also begun sending emails and text messages with pleasant appointment reminders.
Lastly, how is the new initiative impacting the organization? What has Binary Fountain’s platform helped you to do?
Phase one was a great success, and we hope phase two will deliver an even bigger impact, helping us reach our goal of patient experience excellence.
With Binary Fountain’s platform, we are delivering progress reports using survey data from the dashboard to empower and inform executive management, which is very engaged in our processes. In addition, we are using that information to create actionable intelligence and expand our patient relations program to cover all our bases.
All in all, Binary Fountain is helping us to improve care coordination, patient expectations and overall patient satisfaction. It has helped us to engage patients and improve operations with comprehensive patient analytics and the tools to drive change.
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