Such is the importance of feedback in a business setting that a person could travel down a seemingly endless rabbit hole at Harvard Business Review on the topics of giving feedback and receiving it — if they were so inclined.
Feedback is critical for all healthcare providers to understand how their patients perceive them. This, in turn, helps improve the quality of care and patient satisfaction — and ultimately aids in new patient acquisition and retention. Once all of this is working in a virtuous cycle, healthcare practices will see increased revenue and growth.
Here are a few ways patient feedback helps physicians and their practices.
Having a clear picture of patient expectations is one of the main reasons why practices should seek feedback. It’s entirely possible that patients expect to schedule appointments online, or that they find bills confusing and the waiting room drab. Perhaps there’s one member of the front office team that is a quiet rockstar who always goes above-and-beyond for patients.
Without knowing the likes and dislikes of the entire patient experience — from how patients find your practice and schedule appointments to the care they receive — there is no way for practices to implement changes to better serve patients. Improving patient satisfaction and engagement is the surest way to retain patients.
A positive online reputation can help healthcare practices attract new patients. The opposite is also true: A negative reputation can deter prospective patients from entrusting your practice with their health.
Some 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations. This means ensuring that patients who are satisfied with your practice share testimonials on social media or review websites are crucial to success. Asking patients for reviews is easier than you might think. With automated patient feedback surveys, it’s simple to encourage patients to post positive reviews online.
Physicians typically only have a short window in which to connect, catch-up, and address any and all patient needs. That’s difficult under even the best of circumstances. Without knowing how that patient encounter went — Did you provide the necessary care? The right advice and counsel? Did the patient think you seemed rushed or too focused on the EHR? — you will never be able to step back, assess your performance, and work to improve it for the next time.
Providers should always be striving to specifically understand how their performance impacts how patients perceive the quality of care given. This is crucial not just for a practice’s online reputation but especially if and when it begins to take on value-based reimbursements.
The only constant is change — an appropriate aphorism in today’s healthcare landscape if there ever was one. The best strategy to stay relevant is to build a culture of open communication amongst staff of all levels and continuous improvement where any idea that might benefit the practice is debated.
Openly sharing and analyzing feedback given by patients on the performance of the front office and providers is one of the best ways to create the psychological safety inherent of the highest-performing teams. Once that safety amongst teammates is established, constructive dialogues can take place that lead to how the practice’s performance can be improved for the benefit of patients.
Patients are the customers of medical practices. Without soliciting feedback from them on your performance, it is almost impossible to improve your business. Feedback, then, is the only foolproof way for physicians and practices to truly become patient-centric.
For more tips on deepening your relationship with patients, check out the blog “How Healthcare Providers Can Connect with Patients Out of the Office.”