Satisfied patients make for successful practices. For today’s healthcare industry, the challenge of streamlining the patient intake process is an ongoing battle. Whether the patient is calling to make an appointment or filling out registration paperwork, providing superior customer service should be the primary objective.
Inadequate time management (overbooking of appointments), under staffing and poor communication has resulted in an escalation in patient dissatisfaction. Patients are often instructed to show up 15-30 minutes early to contend with paperwork, yet despite their compliance, according to a 2013 survey of 5,000 patients, 90 percent of patients report experiencing exasperation associated with the traditional wait time in the doctor’s office.
With the need for effective communication, 80 percent of patients conveyed that they would feel less frustrated if they knew the length of their wait time. Furthermore, 41 percent of patients would be willing to see another doctor in the practice to reduce that wait. No longer settling for less, today’s patient compares services received from your practice with the experience of a restaurant or hotel. Patients value quality and customer service over price when it comes to deciding to remain loyal to your practice. Patients want to feel that their concerns and time matter. Offering a personal apology for the extended wait from the doctor would alleviate frustration for 70 percent of patients.
In conclusion, the battle to make the patient intake process less frustrating and more office resourceful will no doubt always be ongoing. However, here is a recap of what you can do to minimize patient frustration:
- Simplify the overall registration process – ensure all staff members are properly trained and enhance the use of supportive technology in order to improve efficiency.
- Ensure Proper Staffing Levels – to handle intake calls, simplify paperwork, answer the phones properly, etc.
- Core Values and Mission – ensure everyone understands the company core values that support customer service and efficiency.
- Accountability – ensure that the overall evaluation process within the practice holds everyone accountable for following practice protocols to ensure the registration process is being performed correctly and efficiently each and every day.
- Measure Results – have benchmarks and standards for the patient intake process that can be measured for success. Remember if daily activities and specific tasks are not being measured, it cannot be improved!
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