Patients are consumers – they have similar customer service expectations as they would for other industries. When it comes to selecting a physician, someone who they entrust with their health, the patient experience delivered is key – and it starts online. Ignoring your online patient reviews evokes the same feeling as hanging up on someone during a customer support call. Healthcare providers must take this into account when deciding on a strategy to improve the patient experience and ultimately impact revenue.
Patient Experience Leads to Revenue
Organizations providing “superior” patient experience achieve net margins 50 percent higher than those providing “average” patient experience. This makes it vital for organizations to evaluate the entire continuum of the patient experience.
Ratings from patient surveys like HCAHPS also impact revenue. Hospitals with higher patient ratings saw a 0.2% increase in net operating profit margin for every one-point increase in hospital rating. Removing critical access hospitals from the dataset doubled the margin to a 0.4% increase per point. Without a culture of putting patients first, hospitals will not meet their HCAHPS or revenue goals.
The Value of Patient Loyalty
Improving patient loyalty and decreasing patient churn can significantly increase an organization’s revenue. Americans spend, on average, over $10,000 annually on healthcare. Lost patients can quickly add up to large sums of lost revenue. Increasing retention rates by 5% can increase profits by 25% to 95%. It is also more cost-effective to focus on loyalty – patient acquisition efforts cost five times more than efforts to secure existing patients.
How to Create a Profitable Experience
If you would like to help your organization realize the figures above, follow these five steps:
Create a culture around patient experience. To improve patient experience, create a data-driven patient-centric culture. This culture should marry healthcare data analytics with principles of compassion, service quality, and transparency, all in the service of excellent patient experiences. Organizations should provide their staff with the tools and communication strategies needed to create standardized best practices that become part of the fabric of how they provide care every day.
To foster transparency, benchmark physician-patient experience performance, and share results publicly. Transparency initiatives can spark friendly competition among physicians as well as encourage a stronger focus on improving the patient experience throughout the organization. You may even consider rewarding employees recognized for receiving positive feedback from patients. Organizations that embrace transparency have seen improved patient experience results.
Adopt new tools and strategies. As new trends continuously evolve in healthcare, make sure your organization stays on top. Find new, more effective ways to address your patients’ needs using new technologies that go beyond traditional care.
Adopting digital surveys can provide a significant pathway to collecting patient feedback and can save time by helping healthcare professionals quickly analyze trends and comments. Practices can capture more meaningful feedback with digital surveys today and implement those insights to improve their practice and increase ROI tomorrow.
Natural Language Processing (NLP) is another game-changing technology. NLP collects relevant data from multiple text-based online sources and analyzes it to find keywords and phrases. For healthcare marketers, NLP can instantaneously analyze and benchmark free-text patient reviews and comments from social media sites and post-care surveys. Staff can gain valuable insights into patient experiences and industry trends, giving them the information to make important operational changes.
Listen and engage your patients. Improve service recovery by listening and quickly responding to patient concerns. Keeping patients engaged boosts brand loyalty increases word-of-mouth, and helps providers maintain your organization’s reputation. Take advantage of the opportunity to listen, analyze, and act on the plethora of feedback available as patients become increasingly vocal about their care experiences.
There’s no magical tool that makes negative online reviews disappear, but optimal, timely responses to all reviews, good or bad, can turn around bad impressions. Immediate resolution to a patient’s negative experience can potentially change a patient’s mind about whether to return to your practice. Use data analytics to monitor, track, and respond to patients voicing their concerns online.
Analyze and report patient feedback. A pattern of unfavorable online reviews and surveys can potentially torpedo the reputation of a healthcare organization or a provider – and negatively impact revenue. Use them as an asset for helping your staff improve patient experience — and attract and retain patients.
Physicians may be wary of patient feedback. Many doubt their validity or disagree with them. Yet physicians also tend to be overachievers and, often naturally competitive. They are trained to rely on empirical evidence, to trust data and outcomes. Giving physicians a clear perspective on patient experience data – insight that clearly affects their practices – can grab their attention. Once they see reports that show good reviews far outnumber unfavorable ones, they’re much more inclined to buy-in.
Patient feedback data also allows providers and managers to improve their messaging and operation. Share feedback data with department heads and physicians, so they know what’s going well and what needs to be addressed.
Drive patient acquisition. About half of all consumers consider online ratings and reviews the most important factor in choosing a physician. As a result, you need to leverage your patient survey data by publishing patient verified reviews and comments onto your organization’s physician profile pages.
Sharing all patient feedback from surveys, both positive and negative, increases consumer engagement. It also builds credibility and encourages trust. If only positive comments are made public, this can quickly raise questions to the validity of the data. Publishing all patient feedback communicates that your organization values patient feedback and wants to better understand how they can improve the patient experience. As an added bonus, it improves your SEO ranking and drives more traffic to your website over third-party review sites.
Implementing a strategy to improve patient loyalty and satisfaction will ultimately drive your organization’s growth and revenue.
To learn how industry leaders are creating a profitable patient experience for their organization, check out the articles below, or schedule a demo.
• [Blog] Using Technology to Improve Patient Experience
• [Whitepaper] Improving the Patient Experience: A 360-Degree Review of All Patient Touchpoints
• [Case Study] Using Digital Feedback to Improve Patient Trust and Satisfaction
• [Webinar] Uncovering Nuances in Healthcare Data Analytics to Improve the Patient Experience
• [Blog] Ask an Expert: How Do You Measure Patient Experience?
• [Webinar] How to Optimize Your Digital Patient Experience
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