Positive patient experiences are at the center of today’s solo physician and small practices. More than any other type of medical organization, small groups rely on personal relationships, caring for longtime patients and building trust through generations. So why, then, do patients sometimes feel unheard or dismissed? Research shows that poor communication between physicians and patients can result in a breakdown in confidence and trust—high risk factors for medical malpractice suits and complaints.
According to Mark Crane at Medscape, “The axiom that patients don't sue physicians they like is overly broad but has some truth to it. How physicians communicate with patients, especially after an adverse outcome, can determine whether they are sued, despite the level of injury or their own liability. Numerous studies have shown that physicians who are candid with patients and spend more time answering questions are less likely to be sued.”
Providing a quality healthcare environment that prioritizes a rapid feedback loop and open communication is paramount to managing risk for physicians. Patients want, and need, to feel heard and cared for at every touchpoint: appointment setting, the waiting room experience, during an examination, and even throughout the billing process.
Today, practices have to integrate old and new communication vehicles to provide a better, overall patient experience. Practice managers and office staff can email helpful pre-appointment information to the patient including appointment reminders, driving directions, and critical educational information regarding their medical concerns. Post appointment communications including patient satisfaction surveys, and facilitating social media interactions can also lead to a new level of positive patient experience and potential referrals for your practice.
Therefore, fully understanding what patients want and need may make the difference for practice’s success. Other considerations are the core values of the practice, the practice environment, and the availability of care when it is needed on short notice.
Capson has been working with Press Ganey for several years to bring physicians a no-cost patient survey program designed to help physicians understand the patient experience. Now, in 2018, Capson is expanding the program by offering a new, automated Press Ganey eSurvey Solution designed to further streamline the survey process for physicians and patients.
And one of the best parts? Practice administrators will no longer need to ask patients to complete a survey before they leave the physician’s office.