Improving patient experience through the use of technology is a key way to develop and strengthen your practice’s brand. Patients are shopping for their healthcare providers more than ever before, and implementing technology through the more routine aspects of patient care can help you stand out.
Incorporating features and programs like notification reminders, patient portals, home exercise programs, and telemedicine can drastically improve patient experience. Let’s take a look at some of the ways these technologies can benefit your practice.
4 Technologies for Improving Patient Experience
While paper reminder cards may add a nice branding touch, they often end up lost or go through the laundry. Very few people are able to save them in a way that will be helpful when the time comes around for your appointment. Their usefulness is limited in scope, especially when the next appointment may be as much as 6 months in the future.
Automated notification reminders through text, voicemail or email have a much higher success rate. You can give patients the choice of how they want to be reached, and your reminders will become much more useful.
When a patient calls, they expect a timely response. Nurses and doctors are busy people and it’s not always easy to return patient phone calls. When patients utilize a secure patient portal, communication is simplified.
Patients can easily have their questions answered or gain access to HIPAA-sensitive medical records. When the administrative process becomes more fluid it reflects your practice in a positive light, improving the patient experience.
Home Exercise Programs
Home exercises become part of balanced care for so many medical ailments. When proper exercise techniques are communicated through paper brochures or packets, they are easily lost. Computer-based home exercise programs offer patients a more dependable, easier way to learn the necessary exercises.
Home exercise programs can also reduce the number of patient phone calls, asking for a refresher on the exercises and techniques. The easier it is for patients to access their exercise program, the likelier they are to keep current.
While there are certainly considerations to make before implementing telemedicine inside your practice, it can drastically improve patient experience. When doctors can diagnose using video conferencing technology, it eliminates the need for an in-office appointment.
The time-saving and cost-saving elements of telemedicine are evident. Several states are looking at ways they can make it easier for doctors to practice telemedicine. While it can be a way to cut down on the number of appointments for uncomplicated routine issues, there are certainly cases where in-office care will remain necessary.
Implementing technology can go a long way in modernizing your practice and improving the patient experience. In many cases it can create the differentiation point that will keep patients returning for years to come.
When you implement basic technologies throughout every aspect of your office, you are creating a unique experience and establishing a stronger bond with your patients.
For a doctor or dentist, patient care should be at the center of every decision, and that means creating a therapeutic environment. Your office is more than a simple chair and routine medical equipment. It’s a place where patients can initiate the healing process.
A patient may be anxious before or during their appointment. A therapeutic environment has a calming effect, reduces stress, and makes the patient feel comfortable with your care. In order for patients to have a positive experience, make sure you consider the details behind layout and design.
A therapeutic environment:
- Promotes healing
- Supports the needs of the patient and staff
- Provides a measurable impact on patient outcomes
It’s easy to focus in on the big decisions when you are trying to create a patient-centered practice. Your philosophical approach to care, the tools, and the technology are of course important.
Below are some basic factors to consider when it comes to creating a therapeutic environment that will improve your practice’s level of care.
Creating a Therapeutic Environment
Choose the Right Colors
Your room colors and furniture should promote peace and tranquility. Various shades of blue can help you create a calming effect. White walls offer a neutral feel and leave room for some paintings or a bolder color statement with furniture. Pediatricians can use more color in their waiting room, since they are designing with kids in mind.
While the impact of your color choices may not seem overtly important, it can have a lasting subliminal impact on the patient’s frame of mind and overall experience.
Reduce Environmental Stressors
A practice’s waiting room should always be clean and uncluttered. You can offer your patients a variety of reading materials to make their wait more convenient but keep them organized and presentable. It also helps to make sure they aren’t too dated.
If you have a children’s waiting area, make sure that the books and toys are routinely picked up and put away.
Make sure that furniture is routinely dusted, and floors are routinely swept and vacuumed. Other environmental stressors may include a glare from the lights or poor air quality. When these are eliminated, the patient experience can improve. These may seem like the smaller details, but they make a significant difference in patient care.
When you are designing your practice, make sure to factor in acoustics. Noise reduction plays a significant role in creating a therapeutic environment. As a patient, you wouldn’t necessarily want to hear everything occurring in the room next to you – especially if it is playing up any anxiety or fears brought on by your medical condition or the visit.
If sound is already a factor within your office, white noise machines may help. They create a stronger sense of calm amongst your patients, and they can show that you value patient privacy.
Exposure to Nature
Whenever possible you can design your office with a view of nature. Interior or exterior gardens, aquariums and artwork with a natural theme all offer a soothing feel.
Your practice’s reputation and brand are built on creating a positive patient experience. Creating a therapeutic environment plays a significant role. This type of soothing environment can have a positive impact on your staff as well – improving the level of patient care.
If you have any questions or would like to talk about what this means for your practice, contact us today!