7 Ways to Improve Patient Experience for Happier Patients

Customer experience is a term all too familiar in different industries around the world. But the healthcare industry is not among the industries that put their customers’ experience first.

Time to catch up and work on improving patient experience in hospitals.

Healthcare vs. Other Industries

To emphasize the difference in standards between patient experience in healthcare and customer experience in other industries, take a look at these examples.

Today we can…

… book complete family holidays in minutes and instantly download boarding passes to our phone or tablet.
… browse books, test read the first chapter and having it deliverd the same day

… track our pizza from baking to delivery

Yet, in healthcare you…

… wait anywhere from a few days to even months to have a procedure done
… receive medical bills months after a visit or stay

… have to decode and decide on the insurance plan for yourself and your family

These are just a few examples of healthcare not putting their customers first. Healthcare providers can and should be inspired by some of the most innovative companies in the world and meet the needs of their patients.


7 Competitive Ways to Improve Patient Experience

1. Convenience

The world we live in today is incredibly connected. There is no need for inaccessibility, lack of communication or delays in service. Yet the healthcare industry is dealing with inconveniences every day.

Patients live in a world of convenience, seamless systems and knowledge galore. And yet they don’t experience the healthcare industry as being seamless. Why is convenience so important when it comes to improving patient experience?

Convenience encourages TRUST
Convenience doesn’t mean making ordinarily difficult things to do easier for patients. It is about covering the basics so patients trust that you can deliver more. Having the essentials in place builds relationships that go beyond the basics.

Convenience is EXPECTED
The modern world is about ease and access – to information, support and options. You can’t expect your patients to work for your organization. This extra effort will just create frustration. Meeting your patients’ expectations tells them your healthcare organization lives in the 21st century.

Convenience inspires LOYALTY
When it comes to things you need, would you not choose easy over difficult? When you make it easy for patients to interact with your healthcare organization, they will likely do it again! Convenience equals accessibility equals loyalty.


2. Customization

Health is as personal as it gets. Whether it’s your DNA, diet, medication or exercise. So why are so many healthcare solutions one-size-fits-all? Working out 3 days a week is the way to go and WeightWatchers is THE best diet. Right? Why are these healthcare recommendations not taking into account our specific needs? Why not tailor them?

Patients are starting to feel that doctors are offering them an impersonal service and that they are too busy to really listen. Time to really make health personal we think. Here is why customization is key to improving patient experience in healthcare organizations.

Customization is PERSONAL
Patients want to feel involved in their own health. Giving patients a way to be part of customizing their health will make them feel more comfortable and open to work on improving their health. Think about giving them different treatment options or sharing something personal. Patients want to feel unique and taken serious.

Customization means CONTROL

The healthcare world can often feel overwhelming to patients. On one side there are average people seeking healing and on the other side there are highly specialized healthcare professionals.

Customization will close this gap between patients and medical professionals. As an effect patients feel in control of their care and feel more confident and engaged.

Customization creates DATA

To customize healthcare organizations need to get personal. They can learn from patients sharing personal information. Technology is taking major steps in collecting patient generated data these days.

Patients are using wearable devices to track all kinds of health aspects. This data is extremely valuable to healthcare professionals when making medical recommendations. Enabling better customized care and improving the patient experience.


3. Ease

In a perfect world finding a doctor, procedures and medication would be easy. But in today’s healthcare industry this is far from reality. Access to healthcare, procedure information and your own medical history is far from streamlined.

However, the healthcare industry is slowly learning from other industries and steps are being made to simplify healthcare. EHR systems are a great example of ease in healthcare. But there is still a long way to go. Here is why ‘ease’ make an impact on the patient experience.

Ease inspires CONFIDENCE
Patients feel empowered when they can use easy to understand methods of interaction with healthcare organizations. When they clearly see how they fit into the healthcare system, they will feel more confident. Confident patients means patients that are willing to engage.

Ease signals TRANSPARENCY

Don’t you feel intimidated when you have to work your way through a maze of difficult systems and languages? Patients are no different.

Make sure your communication is open and through simple language and clear instructions. This will ensure patients the healthcare organization is on their side. Transparency increases trust and hence improve patient experience.

Ease is INVITING
Patients are more likely to reach out when the door is open. A wall of complex rules, restrictions and medical language creates frustration and makes healthcare organization unapproachable. Keep it simple and make patients feel cared for and protected.


4. Connectivity

Patients crave connection. Both in their personal lives and in the care they receive. Connections and relationships makes patients feel supported. Yes in the healthcare industry, when support is crucial, disconnection is more common than not.

Patient encounter disconnection with their doctors, their families and between healthcare organizations. Patients need the support from their family and they need their doctors to talk to each other.

If doctors aren’t communicating, how can patients feel safe and secure and trust they are doing their best to help them? Connectivity should be a major focus for improving patient experience. Why?

Connectivity is HUMAN
Connections and relationships makes us who we are. Not being connected to others can make us feel isolated and ignored, creating poor health outcomes. Healthcare organizations need to enable connections to allow patients to be themselves and feel empowered.

Connectivity inspires HOPE

Feeling connected to the professionals and organization responsible for their care gives patients hope. They have a front row seat to see how well everyone is working together and how well the pieces fall together.

This creates a sense of understanding and control giving patients the confidence to carry on working on their health.

Connectivity challenges CONVENTION

Digital connectivity is something that has become normal in many industries, except for the healthcare industry. There are still many healthcare organization not guaranteeing high quality digital connections between patient and doctors and patient and family.

Special healthcare displays are a great way to get the digital connection in place. Allowing for patients to stay in touch with everyone they need during an uncomfortable hospital stay. Greatly improving patient experience levels.


5. Empathy

Many organizations tend to misunderstand the definition of a connection. Connecting with customers or patients doesn’t mean a great amount of social media likes. No, meaningful connections with patients is about understanding. About empathy and feeling with people.

In what industry is feeling with people more important than in healthcare? Healthcare organizations need to recognize patients as people, not numbers or likes. This is why empathy matters in connection with improving patient experience.

Empathy creates UNDERSTANDING
The last thing patients want to do is fight confusion in healthcare. Empathy allows for both patients and healthcare providers to find understanding. Feeling understood creates a trustworthy relationship between patient and provider. Greatly improving patient experience.

Empathy opens DOORS

Caring is a two-way street. Creating meaningful and real connections between patients and healthcare organizations will make everyone open up. Patients are more likely to share personal information about themselves and their conditions.

Patients need to feel safe and valuable for them to open door to their lives, helping healthcare professionals take better informed medical decisions. This not only improves the patient experience but health outcomes as well.

Empathy builds RELATIONSHIPS
Understanding, or empathy, creates trust. Trust creates meaningful connections and long-term relationships. What more do healthcare organization want?


6. Motivation

We often know what we need to do, or changes we need to make. Yet we don’t act on it. Why? It’s not a lack of knowledge, because we know we need to make the change or do the work.

It’s a lack of motivation. A proactive approach to our health takes effort and the way to motivate tputting in the effort is positive reinforcement. Positively encouraging patients can create a motivation that changes behavior. It empowers patients to take control and feel responsible for their own health, resulting in better health outcomes and an improved patient experience.

Motivation INSPIRES
Making changes is hard. So when patients are motivated and actually succeed at making the changes, it’s a celebration. Patients see their progress and are inspired to keep pushing and keep moving forward.

Motivation is CONTAGIOUS
Seeing someone else, like family or friends, changing their behavior for the better, motivates us to do the same. Seeing someone else succeed and seeing the results makes people believe they can do it too. Someone else’s progress is often enough motivation for patients to keep moving forward themselves.

Motivation EVOLVES
Keeping patients motivated asks for continuing changes. Healthcare organizations need to constantly offer new tools and products to keep motivation high in every stage of the healthcare journey.


7. Empowerment

Google allows us to find anything we want to know. It is an endless source of information that gives us the ability to learn things and make well-informed decisions.

Yet our health is one aspect of our lives that we are under-informed about. Patients want to feel empowered by their choices and are therefore tracking many aspects of their health. The desire for knowledge is there, but patients are having a hard time finding it. This is why empowerment helps improve patient experience.

KNOWLEDGE is power
Knowing every aspect of their health helps patients make smart decisions. Knowledge makes them feel in control of their health. This means they will probably engage with healthcare providers more which empowers them further.

SEEING is believing
Showing patients the results of the changes they made, empowers and motivates them to keep moving forward. Of course we trust our doctors when they say something is good for us, but when we actually see it is better, that’s when magic happens. Successes need to be made tangible for them to be motivating and empowering.

CHANGE is constant
Change is scary for a lot of patients. Empowering them with information gives them confidence to handle change at any stage of their healthcare journey.



Conclusion

So what can we learn from these 7 ways to improve patient experience? The healthcare industry need to start innovating, just like any other industry, to keep responding to patient needs. Healthcare providers need to remember this:

  • Patients are people
  • Look further than solving a patient’s physical needs. Look at solving their human needs
  • Healthcare organizations need to change constantly to keep up with competition
  • The healthcare industry should be inspired by innovative companies both in healthcare and in other industries

 


Want to use technology to improve your patients’ experience?

 

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