What Drives Patient Satisfaction?
We discussed the finding that patients appear dissatisfied even after many attempts by practices to do meaningful things to increase satisfaction. In conversations with multiple individuals, patients, practices and switchboards, what I found was revealing…
Patients want the following to feel satisfied:
- I want to know that I was heard. If I call your office, tell me that you know that I called
- Tell me that you will get back to me by a specific date – set expectations
- Meet those expectations – if you cannot meet them, tell me ahead in time that you will not be meeting them and set a new expectation – and meet that
- Give me a heads up when you are about to call and I will go to a private area to take the call
The argument for the above was quite simple…
When the patient wants an appointment with the provider, the provider asks the patient to set an expectation (an appointment date/time). The patient is then reminded of the appointment and asked to confirm. If they cannot make it, then the patient is asked to set a new expectation. The patient is expected to show up on time (meet expectation). If the patient cannot keep the expectation, they are asked to set a new expectation (reschedule).
Quite simply, the patient wants the practice to treat them the same way the practice wants to be treated.
Did someone say “Treat others the way you want them to treat you?”
What are your reactions? How do you manage your daytime calls? Hire more medical assistants and throw money at the problem? Do you keep your patients posted of progress? Does your portal solve all problems known to your patients? If a patient enters a message on your portal, do you tell them when you are working on it or set an expectation of a callback? What about a call during business hours? How do you handle that? The answers to these questions may drive far more patient satisfaction.
This is my humble observation from dozens of patient and practice interviews. Happy to hear your thoughts.
To discuss further, contact Badri at firstname.lastname@example.org.