Levels of patient engagement have increased dramatically over the last decade or so. Easy Access to information has encouraged transparency, and because of this, patients no longer choose hospitals simply based off location. Hospitals that have high satisfaction ratings and easy access to care over ones that don’t, will attract the majority of patients.
Measure Patient Satisfaction
One way to gauge patient satisfaction is to measure their loyalty. Patients may vary in the engagement spectrum. Some patients come in for their first visit and then never return. Some patients may be somewhat disengaged in your healthcare organization by having contact with only one specialist. Loyal patients will interact with the hospital across multiple services lines. Hospitals marketing departments tend to focus on acquiring as many new patients as possible. Hospitals think this is where the revenue is, when in reality loyal patients are five times more valuable. It is much more efficient for marketing departments to use their budget to invest in loyalty, rather than spending their resources to acquire more patients.
Patients’ Experience is everything
Poor patient experiences will cost your hospital patients. It all begins with scheduling, if patients find it a hassle to make an appointment with your hospital, they will likely move on to another facility. Patient satisfaction is determined by a variety of factors. One way to find out what is most important to your patients is to create a survey. This will help your hospital determine what is most important to patients’ healthcare experiences, what their needs and expectations are, and where the majority of your patient base is located. Use these surveys to determine where your hospital is struggling with patient satisfaction and how it can improve.
Hospitals will need to find a balance between efficiency and effectiveness. For example, it may be efficient for hospitals to have appointments scheduled in blocks of time, but this may result in long wait time for patients. If wait time is something that reduces your patients’ satisfaction it should be considered an ineffective method, and a different scheduling process should be created.
Location is Key
Another way to build patient loyalty is to create an easy access to your hospital’s services. Poor satisfaction is not the only reason for a low level of loyalty; it also might be difficult for patients to access your services. This is why location is key. Collect information on your current patients’ demographics, lifestyles, and locations to determine opportunities for growth. Compare a map of where patients and prospects live with a map of hospitals locations. Areas with high patient levels and minimal facility centers will reveal where patients might be under served.