5 Strategies That Will Improve Your Patient Satisfaction Scores
I generally dislike “x-steps to…” because it leaves so much out. Yet since this is me sharing my thoughts it will have to do. I came up with this after reflecting on which docs in my clinic had the highest patient satisfaction scores and when I myself have experienced the best connections with patients.
Now that I am in charge of other docs at 2 different clinic sites I deal with their patient interaction scores which is measured at our medical group. This post is in regard to being perceived by patients as a better doc and also actually being a better doc.
- Look up
- Decide together
- Arrange Follow up
That’s you sitting across from the patient, at eye level, appearing as if you are fully attentive to whatever it is they are saying. Listening is less about you hearing them and more about them perceiving that they have been heard. No patient will say they weren’t listened to if you can repeat their main concerns, thoughts back to them.
This is harder. If you are a cold-hearted one then you better learn some sales tactics. Caring is you turning off the light for the patient who has a photophobic headache. It’s you helping a patient off/on the exam table. Saying “You know, it must be so frustrating to have had to come all the way to the clinic when this could have been handled for you over the phone.” Caring is touching their hand on your way out and saying “I know you waited forever to finally get this visit but now that we have a plan together the next few steps should go smoothly.”
Take a moment during more complicated visits and step outside of the exam area. Regroup your thoughts, run the case by a colleague, consult your peripheral brain (app, book, software) and come up with a plan that you feel much more confident with. Look up how to do that ankle injection/aspiration… it’s okay if you look it up on YouTube. You will save the patient an unnecessary bounce-back, referral, or follow-up.
I have been guilty of this in the past and whenever I get rushed. However, it’s so much more powerful and empowering when you discuss the various options out loud with the patient and answer a few questions about them. It can be as simple as thinking out loud. For the indecisive patient it’s okay to say “You know if you were my brother I would advise you to…”
Arranging Follow Up
Such an easy one to do. But either due to time constraints or laziness we tend to skip this step. The patient with a vague abdominal pain that you decide to not CT or order lab work on may benefit from a 1 to 2 day recheck with another provider. A patient who has been having four months of severe sinus issues that you prescribed fluticasone and an antibiotic for, may benefit from a follow-up in one week since they may not think to arrange for that themselves.
What do you do that is unique and improves your patient’s perception of your care?
Do you feel like these items are harder to do when you are tired or if you are burnt out?