Patient engagement is a vital part of healthcare delivery. The easier you make it for patients to participate in their care, the better your clinic will be in every single aspect. However, patients often have expectations that you struggle to match. Using a patient CRM is one of the best things you can do to ensure that you keep retention rates high and provide the quality of care that people deserve. Here we’ll discuss how to use patient management software to boost communication quality, speed up the delivery of information and optimise the provision of services.
Managing Patient Expectations as a Private Practice Manager
One of the hardest tasks you’ll face as a private practice manager is the proper handling of patient expectations. Everyone coming to your clinic has a preconceived notion of the value that you and your colleagues are going to provide. It’s up to your practice to relay these values to prospective and existing patients and then deliver upon them as best as you can. If you want to engage your patients effectively, then healthcare-oriented client relationship management (CRM) tools can help you to do this with ease.
As a private practice manager, even without a patient CRM, you can start to manage your patients’ expectations like this:
- Anticipate the patients’ expectations are often based on internet research they may have done
- Realise that most patients still trust their doctors the most for healthcare information
- Take the time to build a relationship with patients to grow loyalty in the clinic as well as the practitioner
- Communicate clearly and always be ready to clarify situations calmly and with respect
- Ensure understanding by getting patients to repeat your information back to you in their own words
When you have access to patient management tools such as a private practice management software platform, you can take basic communication skills and value propositions to whole new levels. You can use a range of automated and manually controlled workflows in order to give your patients the best possible impression of your clinic, and of course, the optimal patient experience in the end.
Patient management tools in Medesk
Patient management software like the Medesk platform can help you to achieve the following:
- Confirm appointments and schedule automated reminders to boost attendance
- Generate bespoke yet automated email content to demonstrate the specific value of your services
- Build recall lists at the click of a button to encourage patient retention and boost loyalty
- Offer online payment solutions to minimise the transactional nature of the doctor-patient relationship
- Dig into analytics and see where you’re doing well and where you could stand to improve
How You Should Make Your Patients Feel
The patient experience is a huge part of your clinic’s success. When you have patients leaving your practice satisfied and strongly engaged in their own healthcare, you are on to a winning formula. How patients are treated throughout the course of their interactions with you and your colleagues plays a significant role in whether those patients return to you, as well as recommending your services to others. Expectations can be split into reasonable and unreasonable expectations, the former of which you absolutely must meet and the latter of which you must learn to cope with.
Reasonable patient expectations can be anticipated in advance by any good private practice manager. Actions to take include:
- Employing active listening skills and let patients know that their needs are being heard
- Putting patients’ medical needs above all other considerations
- Treating patients with respect and consideration no matter what
- Helping patients to make truly informed decisions with bespoke information sheets
Some expectations are so unreasonable that no patient CRM can help you meet them, but there’s a lot you can do to get your patients on your side and moving forward with their healthcare. Once people realise that you truly are doing everything you can to help them, your relationship with them becomes so much easier. It’s all about proper communication skills at the end of the day.
Here’s how you should approach some of the most commonly occurring unreasonable expectations:
- Give patients emergency contact details so your doctors don’t have to feel like they are on call 24/7
- Offer video consultations if patients want a repeat prescription but aren’t prepared to visit you in person
- Take it slow when providing medical information so patients have time to absorb it properly
- Encourage follow-up appointments with bespoke educational content for the best possible clinical outcomes
- Explain that obtaining immediate answers by running a battery of tests is not usually a realistic expectation at all
- Make it clear that you are a specialist in your own field and you may need to refer to others where appropriate
Managing expectations is all about good communication facilitated by the right tools. Crafting the best possible patient experience for every single person is hard work, but it’ll be worth it when you have happy and healthy patients coming back to you time and time again. Use the ideas and tips outlined in this material and apply what you have learned with a patient CRM system like Medesk. You’ll soon see what a difference it makes!
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