As the marketplace becomes more competitive, organizations are discovering that customer experience is quickly becoming one of the most critical competitive factors. According to research conducted by Gartner, 81% of companies expect to compete primarily based on customer experience. To deliver an outstanding customer experience, organizations are beginning to shift their focus away from traditional business functions such as marketing, sales, or customer service toward the customer experience function.
Medical practices are no different. As medical practices continue to adapt to the changing landscape brought about by technological advancements and other societal shifts, more attention is placed on the patient experience. As such, practice leaders need to recognize the importance of elevating the patient experience in their organizations. This article explores a few practical ways to elevate patient experience.
Understanding the Importance of Patient Experience
When we talk about the “patient experience,” we are referring to the interactions and impressions that a patient has with a brand across various touch points. This could include anything from browsing a website to speaking with an engagement representative. In today’s world, patients are more discerning than ever before and will not hesitate to switch to a competitor if they feel that their experience is subpar. As such, practice leaders need to recognize that patient experience is non-negotiable and understand the importance of delivering exceptional patient experiences to stay relevant and competitive in the current landscape.
Creating a Patient-Centric Culture
Medical practices should strive to cultivate a patient-centric culture across all levels of the organization. This includes empowering team members to constantly engage with patients, solve patient issues, and implement systems and processes that encourage feedback and continuous improvement. When team members understand and value the importance of the patient experience, they will be more motivated to go above and beyond to ensure that each patient interaction is a positive one.
Recognizing The Role of Each Team Member
An excellent patient experience strategy starts with the practice team members. Every team member has a role to play in creating a great patient experience, regardless of their position or title. Educating team members on the organization experience strategy and giving them the tools and support they need to deliver exceptional experiences can be the difference between a loyal patient base and patients that seek competitors. Team members that feel invested in their organization’s experience strategy are more likely to be engaged, productive, and committed to delivering excellent patient experiences.
Embracing the Right Mindset
While medical practice may not be able to afford a dedicated Chief Experience Officer role, embracing the mindset is a foundational step in elevating the patient experience. By embracing an Experience Officer mindset, practice leaders and team members can position themselves to be more in tune with the needs of their patients. This approach can lead to deeper insights into patient behavior, ultimately leading to better business decisions that are focused on patients. Furthermore, this mindset can enhance employee engagement, as they are more likely to be motivated by a patient-centered mission. Ultimately, embracing an Experience Officer mindset can lead to creating organizations that deliver more value to both patients and employees.
Consumer-Focused Tools to Elevate the Patient Experience
There are several tools and strategies that can be implemented to enhance the overall patient experience. For example, practices can invest in patient portals, telemedicine, and other technologies that make it easier for patients to access care. They can also use patient feedback surveys to gather information on what patients like and dislike about their experience and use that data to make improvements.
Measuring the Right Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
To determine the effectiveness of patient experience strategies, practices need to establish metrics and a system for measurement. This may include tracking customer satisfaction scores, analyzing Net Promoter Scores, and measuring customer loyalty over time. Based on this information, practice leaders can make recommendations and implement new strategies that will further enhance the overall customer experience.
The traditional business model that focused on key performance indicators (KPIs) such as revenue or profit, is no longer enough. If the primary focus is solely on KPIs and not patient experience, practices are in danger of losing their patients to the competitors. A successful patient experience strategy requires a significant shift in the way a company operates. It means creating a patient-centric culture that empowers and enables team members to deliver exceptional experiences to the patients.
Creating an exceptional patient experience has become an essential aspect of competing in today’s marketplace. A patient experience mindset should be shared by all team members to create a cohesive patient-centric culture that delivers quality experiences through all touchpoints. Shifting the focus to patient experience can lead to improved KPIs, increased customer loyalty, and long-term practice growth. In summary, we are all Experience Officers in our organizations, and we should strive to provide the best possible experience for our patients throughout the entire patient journey.
Cornelia Vremes, MBA, EdD
As an accomplished healthcare executive, Cornelia possesses a breadth of knowledge and expertise in healthcare operations, change and project management, business transformation, continuous improvement, and financial management. Cornelia’s focus is on developing organizational excellence by transforming and optimizing operational systems, business processes, clinical workflows, as well as leading strategic initiatives that drive company performance and growth.
Cornelia established her consulting practice, DRV Performance, with the purpose to drive organizational performance with project execution, business transformation, and operational excellence.