Seven Ideas on how to Enhance Your Patients Experience

Healthcare is all about the patient experience. This means that the communication between staff and patients, the ease of access your patients have to your practice, and even your waiting room atmosphere are all part of enhancing their experience.

Implementing all these ideas may seem like an overwhelming task, but there are ways we can guide a better patient journey and improve the results for our patients. Keep reading for seven strategies to upgrade your patients experience.

Ensure you have an excellent front desk team.

Working at the front desk of a rheumatology practice isn’t easy. Dealing with patients who are missing crucial paperwork, while repairing the day’s schedule, and managing frustrated patients are daily battles.

Train your front desk to cultivate healthy habits and have useful strategies to prepare them for these situations. Ensure the patients get the most from their experience from the minute they walk through the door, including a knowledgeable, organized, and smiling front office staff.

Display excellent bedside manner.

Ultimately, patients come for your trusted medical opinion. However, patients also want to see someone they feel comfortable with and a rheumatologist who will be invested in their wellbeing.

It’s essential to provide a thorough examination and to also display a caring and friendly presence. Make sure your patients leave with a full understanding of their treatment plan and feeling completely comfortable at your practice. Some tips for developing your bedside manner include:

  • Utilize strong communication skills.
  • Make a good first impression.
  • Sit down and take time with patients.
  • Make eye contact.
  • Speak professionally but also in a way that patients can understand.
  • Be an active listener.

Create extended hours.

We live in a time of immediate gratification and 24-hour everything. To be able to compete, it’s time to extend your practice hours. Even if it’s just one day during the week where you stay open late or are available for a few hours on a Saturday morning, extended hours are beneficial.

Your patients and their families are busy, and typical hours aren’t always possible, so give them what they need to set yourself apart from the competition.

Reduce wait times.

Most patients would agree that one thing they hate is long wait times. The key to fixing this is to increase office efficiency as much as possible. With the right tools, your team should be spending less time each day on tasks like appointment reminders and other miscellaneous activities.

Make patient focus the number one priority, and the office’s processes will become smoother. When all else fails, communicate with your patients, so they know what to expect. Keeping patients aware of how long the wait may be will significantly reduce frustrations.

Create a comfortable waiting room environment.

For many patients, waiting rooms are a part of life. Adding simple and inexpensive details can make patients feel cozy and content rather than anxious and impatient.

With a small investment and a bit of creativity, you can make your waiting room a pleasant and positive place for your patients.

[Want more tips on an arthritis-friendly waiting room? Click here!]

Utilize effective reminders.

Ensure you are using useful reminders for your patients and ensuring they are tailored to fit their needs. In our modern era, you should not have blanket style reminders.

Ask your patients which method they prefer and then contact them that way. Little details like this can make a big difference when it comes to enhancing your patients’ experience.

Implement a patient portal.

If your website doesn’t have a patient portal, it is time to implement one immediately. Patient portals are an excellent way to share and exchange vital information with patients safely and conveniently.

Ensure your patients have access to this little medical luxury that gives them constant contact with your practice and makes their lives (and yours!) a little bit easier. Make sure it is easy to navigate, provide them with access to payment and scheduling options, and give them easy access to critical information such as results and records.

While the general public may not always be the easiest to please, upgrading their experience at your practice isn’t rocket science. Rheumatology practices must provide the utmost care throughout each appointment experience. From appointment making and the front desk greeting to the actual treatment and a follow-up call, it is essential the patient feels valued.

By finding little ways to upgrade a patients’ experience at all points in their journey with your practice, you will see improvements in satisfaction and retention. Need more tips on enhancing your patient’s experience? Follow our blog!

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  • As a speaker at the first ad hoc meeting of rheumatology practice managers gathered in a single small room at its infancy a decade ago, I’m amazed to see how NORM has blossomed into a high energy organization of depth and professional meetings with parallel break-out symposia between plenary sessions. NORM has truly come of age. This is where the “business” of rheumatology gets learned. The ”guildmanship” for rheumatology practice management is now strong.- Paul H. Caldron, DO, FACP, FACR, MBA, Arizona Arthritis and Rheumatology Associates
  • In a time of demanding changes in the management of medical practices in the US, NORM has been a lifesaver to the community of Rheumatology practices.  NORM has allowed our practice to stay ahead of the many demands of CMS and others payors and has ensured that our practice remains cognizant of new issues that arise in HIPPA compliance, human resources and medical billing to name a few. Sending our Practice Manager to NORM's conferences has been cost-effective and beneficial to our practice because she returns to our office with an abundance of information that otherwise would have taken months to compile. Every Rheumatology practice that wishes to stay on top of emerging issues in practice management should consider sending a member of their staff to NORM's conference.- Michael S. Rosen M.D., Chester County Rheumatology PC
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