When you run a healthcare business or practice, your patients are everything. Without them, quite simply, you don’t have a business. It therefore makes sense that a lot of your business strategy should focus on not only keeping them happy, but ensuring you remain their port of call for all of their relevant healthcare needs.
The above might be the ideal, but there’s no doubt that it’s easier said than done. Health clinics are often complained about, with plenty of online reviews denouncing their efficiency (or lack of it, to be precise). Given the unpredictable nature of healthcare – some patients may need a lot longer for their appointment, thus making life difficult for everyone else – it’s impossible to completely eradicate some of the dissatisfactions your patients might experience.
You can, however, make efforts to erase some of them. The better you do, the higher your chances of a return patient. Here are key areas where improving and innovating your service will stand your business in good stead, and give your patients plenty of reason to come back for more.
AVOID: Double-Booking Appointments
It happens. Even if you have the best intentions in the world, there is always the chance you will double-book an appointment accidentally. Some clinics even choose to double-book some appointments in anticipation of patient no-shows.
It goes without saying you should never intentionally double-book appointments; if both patients arrive as planned, then you’ll find yourself in very hot water to cope with them. Prevent accidental overbookings with the likes of PM software by Open Practice Solutions, so every patient always knows they will be seen around the time they have booked for.
AVOID: Inaccessible Rooms
If your clinical rooms aren’t capable of handling patients with disabilities, then this is a major faux pas. You need to ensure the doorways are wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs, while the rooms themselves should be situated as close to the waiting room as possible. No patient is going to return to a clinic that isn’t able to meet their requirements. It’s therefore important to think about disabilities and impairments when it comes to working on your layout, to guarantee your business is accessible to as many people as possible.
AVOID: Broken Equipment
If a piece of diagnostic equipment breaks, then that’s just the way of the world sometimes. Your patients are going to understand.
What they won’t understand is if you have a piece of broken equipment, and you don’t take the steps to fix it as soon as possible. Anything that impairs your ability to offer a full service should be fixed as an absolute priority, almost as an emergency. Anything else just gives the wrong impression.
AVOID: Rude Receptionists
It is an oft-repeated fact that medical receptionists have a tendency to not be quite as polite as you might hope. Be very cautious with anyone you hire. They have to be able to handle stress, and keep smiling even when a patient might be being difficult. Always keep tabs on your reception staff and ask for customer feedback, so you can quickly identify if you have any issues.
Given how challenging healthcare can be as a field, you’re probably made of stern stuff to have chosen it for your entrepreneurial intentions. You can make the most of your bravery by avoiding the above, and thus being able to deliver the best experience possible to any patient who crosses your path.
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