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By: Stephen O'Connor

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August 25th, 2014

How to Improve Your Next Patient Visit in 5 Simple Steps

Healthcare Advice

how-to-improve-your-next-patient-vist-in-5-simple-stepsAs medical professionals, it’s our responsibility to always strive to do better in how we deliver care to our patients. The more satisfied your patients are, after all, the more likely it will be that they’ll stay with you instead of going with another doctor or another practice.

Read on to learn how you can improve your next patient visit in five simple steps.

1. Streamline the Appointment and Check-in Process

Among the more common complaints of patients is the sense they have that medical professionals don’t respect their time. Being forced to wait an extra hour or more in the waiting room can cause a patient’s blood pressure and anxiety level to soar.

Consider implementing practice management software at your facility to make things run more efficiently. Activating a patient portal with your Electronic Health Record software will let your patients go online to set their own appointments. The EHR application will help your staff streamline the check-in process as well.

2. Provide Useful, Actionable Information

Information is power, and patients are typically at an informational disadvantage when they consult with medical professionals. This is why you will want to provide useful and actionable information to your patients in a timely fashion. Put up posters in your exam rooms showing the various parts and systems of the body and the ailments and injuries you specialize in treating.

Brochures and other handouts are also useful to keep in the waiting room for distribution to patients, whether they volunteer questions or remain silent during your consultation.

3. Develop a Better Bedside Manner

Do you think patients enjoy being in your presence for the most part? They might not appreciate you as much when you give them a shot or prod and poke them during an exam, of course. If the consensus in your office is that you lack a good bedside manner, it’s incumbent on you to change your approach.

Gently touching patients in a gesture of connection and empathy and speaking in a warm and calming voice will go a long way toward helping you develop a better bedside manner.

4. Strive for Better Communication

Patients hate it when it feels like doctors, nurses and support staff don’t seem to be listening to them very carefully. You have to focus on the person in front of you and avoid leaping ahead to consider the details of the next few patients you’re about to see.

Practice active listening, and take the time to really hear what your patients want to tell you. If need be, set up a longer consultation session with patients who have a number of questions or concerns, so neither of you will feel rushed.

5. Implement Patient Satisfaction Surveys

It’s impossible for a medical practice to know where it is going wrong if it doesn’t get feedback from patients on a regular basis. You can improve your next patient visit by putting out surveys and tabulating the results as promptly as possible.

The very fact that you want to improve your next patient visits means that you have within you not only the power to change for the better, but also the common sense to understand that better relations with patients will result in their continuing loyalty to your practice.

Key Takeaway

  • There are steps you can take to improve the quality of each patient visit.
  • Respect your patients’ time and run your office as efficiently as possible.
  • Make sure to keep informative literature on hand to help anticipate and answer your patient’s burning questions.
  • How is your bedside manner? The better it is, the more comfortable your patients will be.
  • Open communication and active listening are key for improving patient relations.
  • Consider implementing a patient satisfaction survey to identify areas where your team needs to improve.

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About Stephen O'Connor

As a Director of Digital Marketing at Advanced Data Systems Corporation, Stephen spends his day's planning, writing, & designing resources for the modern healthcare professional. He has a strong affinity for snow crab legs, the ocean, and Rutgers Football.

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