A positive patient experience is an integral part of delivering high-quality care, and increasingly, it’s become a major focus for healthcare providers who are assessed based on their patients’ outcomes.
Many providers spend so much time and energy on improving the appointment itself, the patient experience begins much earlier.
To improve your patients’ experience, start by streamlining your patient intake process. Here are three incredibly effective strategies that empower your patients and can help you improve your practice’s overall patient experience scores.
1. Scheduling appointments online
When you think about your intake process, you might be thinking about the time between when a patient walks into the office until they are taken back to see their doctor. But today’s digital world extends that process, making it easier for practices to take their time and offer their patients the best care.
Today, practices that take full advantage of the web can schedule appointments online. As patients are filling out the online scheduling form, they’re actually having their first interaction with your practice and kicking off the intake process.
Online scheduling forms put the power in the patient’s hands. They can visit your website any time – whether you’re open or closed for the day – and find an appointment time that works for them. They don’t have to call and wait on hold until your office staff is available. They just point and click a time and date on the calendar.
It puts the patient first, making setting an appointment convenient for them, and it lets your front office staff put down the phone and help ensure the patients who are physically in your office get the attentive in-person intake process they deserve.
2. Sending text reminders
Patients forget and miss appointments.
We’re all human, and even despite our best efforts, sometimes life gets in the way of our plans. Things happen that are outside of our control: Maybe we get a flat tire on the way to our appointment, or maybe we have a sick kid who has to stay home from school. In other cases, we just forget.
Sending patients appointment reminders (with instructions for confirming their appointment) is a helpful way to stay top of mind and begin a smooth patient intake process.
For most people, text messaging is today’s preferred way to communicate, and that’s really good news for healthcare providers.
People are hesitant to answer the phone from unknown callers, even if the phone number shares their area code. They think it’s a wrong number or maybe even a scam call. You can try to leave a message, but it’s not uncommon for voicemail boxes to be full.
For your practice’s staff, that means potentially making multiple calls per day to the same patient, just to remind them about their upcoming appointment and confirm they’re going to make it.
Text messages are a smart, efficient and genuinely helpful way to remind patients about their upcoming appointment and let them know what they need to bring to the office. Your patients will thank you for being so thoughtful and proactive about their appointment, and you’ll reduce your no-show rate and keep your schedule filled. Text reminders are a win-win for streamlining your intake process.
3. Receiving all paperwork through the web
When patients have to arrive early for their appointments, complete all their paperwork, and sit in the waiting room for their turn to see the physician, it wastes their time.
On top of that, they could be exposed to other sick people in your waiting room. Before the appointment has even begun, we’re off to a bad start.
With all digital paperwork, you can have your patients submit forms securely before their appointment. They don’t have to worry about forgetting anything (like their insurance card).
With all paperwork in before your patient arrives for their appointment, your staff can work more efficiently, processing information when they receive it digitally, and your physicians have time to review the patient’s information before the appointment. That means you can cut out long wait times in the waiting room.
Your patients won’t miss the clipboards. And neither will you.
Want to learn more about how you can streamline your patient intake process? Try intakeQ free for 14 days and start sending and receiving online forms today.