Five ways to improve patient satisfaction and boost practice revenue

October 6, 2020

The tips come as part of MGMA’s Benchmarking for Patient Access in a Post-COVID-19 World report.

The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) has released a new report filled with tips to help practices improve their patient satisfaction and boost their revenue.

Benchmarking for Patient Access in a Post-COVID-19 World provides guidance and insight for medical practice administrators and physician leaders as their workflow begins to normalize to pre-COVID-19 levels of appointment availability and volume as well as benchmarks to aspire to.

The five tips are:

  • Shifting hours of operation – Expanding a practice’s operating hours beyond nine-hour days Monday through Friday can ensure timely access to care and can allow a practice to stagger physician shifts to enable better social distancing.
  • Decreasing patient wait times – While practices in differing specialties saw wait-area times jump in 2019, shifting to new, digital check-in options to respond to the ongoing pandemic and make patients feel safe.
  • Leveraging patient portals – Practices with robust patient portals should open them up for any integrations with phone apps so that appointment requests and physician questions won’t require in-person interactions.
  • Appointment availability and timelines – Timely clinical appointment help drive growth and expand the financial bottom line. Practices should consider measuring the delay patients see in accessing physicians through third-next-available appointment and by using patient wait lists to fill next-available appointments.
  • Charge a no-show fee? – Practices should consider implementing a no-show fee for patients who miss their appointments. Prior to the pandemic, only 20 percent of single specialty practices charges such a fee.

“Through this period of uncertainty and anxiety during a global pandemic, patients still need care,” Halee Fischer-Wright, MD, MMM, FAAP, FACMPE, president and CEO of MGMA, says in a news release accompanying the report. “A June 2020 survey found more than half of patients (57%) report having a medical condition requiring immediate attention. One of the keys to restoring patient visit volumes and avoiding deferred care is ensuring that these patients feel safe when returning to their medical practice office. Medical practices need to win patients’ trust and this benchmarking data will allow medical practices to make necessary adjustments that will allow them to remain competitive in this ever-evolving industry.”