Three Ways You Can Differentiate Your Practice Today
Technology in health care is all the rage these days. The internet of things (IoT). Artificial intelligence. Electronic Health Record (EHR). All of these continue to innovate the flow of patient data and information, opening up a plethora of new future possibilities. But what changes can you make immediately to improve your practice now? Today we explore some of these near-term opportunities.
Do digital communications really well.
Let’s face it, when was the last time you had a ‘wow’ digital experience from a healthcare provider? Our guess is the next time may actually be the first. Having an innovative website that assists patients with things like scheduling, FAQs, and setting expectations around the care experience may require some investment, but also is well within reach to execute. The same can be said with social media and speaking with a nurturing, yet professional “voice” to your patient. What topic or content might your patients be interested in hearing more about, or make them more likely to recommend you to friends or family? Taking the extra time to make sure the digital experience is truly an extension of your practice can make a huge difference.
Create a concierge-level experience.
Hand in hand with digital, the pre-appointment experience is another often overlooked, yet important piece to the patient experience. Sure, you could invest significant dollars into new real estate, a custom-designed lobby area, and tablet devices for all customer-facing personnel. While that may be realistic for some, for many others it’s not. Even without going all out, there are things a practitioner can do to improve or enhance the experience incrementally and create a “concierge” type environment. This could include utilizing an app for notifications and check-in so that a patient does not have to call the office if they are running a few minutes behind or to let the office know they are in the lobby area. Other examples would include investing dollars in areas of a waiting room for patients to plug-in, connect, and perhaps even watch programming on services like Netflix or Hulu. While there would be investment required to make this happen, it could pay off in higher patient retention or referral rates.
View your patient’s needs holistically, and not just as a provider.
It’s easy to focus solely on the services you provide, which in many cases may be part of a more holistic wellness picture that involves other providers. This “vendor” mentality may be appropriate for some things, but to build a patient relationship, it can be quite limiting. Consider partnering with other providers to create events, content, and health education opportunities, beyond just referral possibilities. As patients have begun to look at their own healthcare more holistically, it makes sense for practitioners to approach their patient relationships in much the same way.