The services and perks patients expect you to deliver.
Today’s patients expect the same conveniences from medical practices that they receive from restaurants or retailers. If they don’t get them, they will find another doctor. If practices want to compete in today’s healthcare environment, they need to offer patients convenience.
Here are the top 7 things patients expect from their doctor’s office.
Easy online appointment-setting
Patients can order anything from a book to a mattress at any time with a few clicks on their smartphone. They don’t want to spend 15 minutes on hold to make an appointment. Practices need to offer online scheduling to patients to make it easier for them to book an appointment.
Today’s patient expects a smooth and easy visit. The more forms that can be filled out electronically and in advance of an appointment, the better. No one wants to sit in a waiting room filling out forms on a clipboard that could easily have been done the night before. Checkout should be just as easy, with little to no time spent standing in line. Any prescriptions or follow-up appointments should be as automated as possible.
Minimized wait times
Patients expect the doctor to see them within about 15 minutes of their appointment time. They have little tolerance in their own busy schedules for physicians who run late or overbook. To mitigate the issue, consider implementing a system that texts patients updates on wait times, allowing them to adjust their arrival to reflect the doctor’s current schedule.
Quick responses to questions
Patients expect a response to questions posed via email or an EHR portal in 24 hours or less. This timeframe is basic business protocol established by the retail and service industry, and medical practices must embrace it as well. They also expect lab results to be posted online or emailed to them for easy viewing.
Updated waiting rooms
Free Wi-Fi, coffee, and water are the minimum. A modern design with comfortable furniture and natural lighting will put patients at ease and make them feel valued. A dingy room plastered with warnings and payment notices isn’t exactly customer-friendly.
Patients expect guidance on how much services will cost, what will be covered by their insurance and what will not. If a referral is made, the patient should be informed whether it will be in network or out of network. Any bill sent by the office (or better yet, presented online), should be easy to read and understand.
Patients don’t get sick only during business hours, and offering a few Saturday appointments no longer caters to their busy lifestyles. With urgent cares and retail clinics offering extended hours daily, if a practice doesn’t adapt its schedule to its patients they’ll get their care from a place that does.