How can patient feedback help in improving your healthcare practice?

by | May 16, 2018

How can patient feedback help in improving your healthcare practice?

The profession of healthcare is a vast one. It has various streams with their individual line of working, dedicated towards catering to specific needs of patients. However, if you’re a doctor or a dentist, how would you know that you’re doing a good job? How would you make sure that your patients are completely happy and satisfied with the treatment? Confusing, isn’t it?

According to a study, 67% of patients do not revert back to their doctor about how effective the treatment was. About 23% of them seek treatment from a different doctor as they weren’t satisfied with the treatment given by the previous one. What could be the solution to this issue?

Well, it is impossible to find out whether the treatment you have given has had any effect on the patient or not without asking for their unfiltered feedback! Feedback is critical for physicians to understand how their patients perceive them.

A major fraction of patients say that they wouldn’t be comfortable about expressing their dissatisfaction with the treatment to their doctors. This would help neither of them. It screams out that the two most important things in a doctor-patient relationship are ‘Giving feedback’ and ‘Receiving it’! Such is the importance of feedback in any business that involves customer satisfaction.

Here are some of the ways by which feedbacks prove essential to every doctor who wishes to improve his/her quality of treatment and interaction with patients:

Feedback helps to understand patient needs

Feedback plays a major role in improving the quality of treatment. Having a clear picture of what the patients expect from you and whether or not you have delivered them are the two main reasons why physicians should seek patient feedback.

There could be several aspects that the patient would expect from you, but is not entirely comfortable with disclosing them, such as,

  • The quality of treatment
  • The level of comfort at your practice
  • Financial and billing aspects
  • Doctor-patient interaction
  • Disclosing the exact physical condition for which they seek medical attention

Without knowing what your patient likes and dislikes, there is no way you’ll be able to implement the required changes and make your treatment techniques better. Always remember one thing; Patient satisfaction is of utmost importance to ensure their retention and also in new patient acquisition.

Patient feedback can massively boost your online reputation

Imagine yourself to be a patient with a severe back ache. You’ll browse the internet for ‘Best doctor to treat back ache’ in the area of your dwelling. Your search engine would display a list of doctors based on the best online reviews and rating. Meaning, doctors with a higher rating are displayed first compared to the ones with a lower rating. This is where online review and rating becomes important in boosting your online reputation.

Positive online reviews can help you in attracting new patients, as well as retain your existing ones. On the contrary, negative reviews have the potential to ruin your business completely. It can deter prospective patients from seeking medical help from you.

According to a study, about 85% of patients trust online reviews as much as they trust a personal recommendation from a friend or a relative. This proves that it is essential for patients who are satisfied with your treatment to share their experience and rating on online platforms. This would help to increase your popularity, which would in-turn, attract more patients to your practice. Once all of this is working in a virtuous cycle, healthcare practices will see increased revenue and growth

Feedback helps you connect better with your patient

As a doctor, it is important to establish a mental connection with your patient. It is one of the surest ways to ensure patient retention. Feedback need not necessarily be in the form of online reviews. Asking your patients about their satisfaction with the treatment, making sure their medical condition has been dealt with, following up with them even after the treatment, having casual talks with them during the treatment and making sure they relax, etc. will help you establish a good mental connection with them.

Feedback improves the quality of treatment

This is perhaps the best thing about receiving feedback. Doctors and dentists have a very small window where they can try and connect with their patient, understand their medical condition and address their needs. In certain situations, this won’t be possible due to the time constraint and busy schedule.

In such cases, you won’t be able to adequately interact with the patients and ensure their satisfaction, find out if the patients’ medical condition was solved, if the patients felt you rushed through the treatment procedure, if there was anything you could do to better your treatment procedure, etc.

Hence, make sure your he/she gives you a honest feedback. It can either be in-office or online. This way, you’ll know what improvements you can make to the way you treat and handle them. Providers should always be striving to specifically understand how their performance impacts how patients perceive the quality of care given.

Feedback creates an open communication platform

As stated above, most patients are not comfortable with disclosing their feedback directly to their physician. Sometimes, they could have feedback about the support staff working in the facility as well. Feedback acts as a channel where patients can express their views about every aspect related to the office and also the staff.

This provides an opportunity for continuous improvement of yourself as well as the supporting staff in your office. Discuss the feedback with everyone concerned and make sure the changes are made. The best strategy to stay relevant is to build a culture of open communication amongst staff of all levels and continuous improvement where any idea that might benefit the practice is debated.

When it comes to feedback, negative feedback will be more helpful to you and your practice than positive feedback. It offers a huge scope for improvement and lets you know what changes can be made to offer better patient experience. Feedback is the only foolproof way for physicians to truly become patient-centric.

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