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Nextech Blog

Patient Communication is the Key to a Positive Patient Experience

Posted On 12/03/2019 by Shannon Woodworth and Frank Sivilli

patient engagement

Patient communication is one of the most important metrics that modern practices can examine to understand patient satisfaction. That’s because the patient experience is deeply tied to how easy and convenient it is to communicate with your practice. 96% of patient complaints are related to poor service, with only 4% actually related to quality care. The number one driver of these poor service complaints is poor communication. That can mean anything from cumbersome phone trees, long wait times on the phone, unanswered emails, or constantly forgotten portal passwords.

Therefore, when it comes to solving patient communication issues, you can have an outsized impact on patient satisfaction by simply changing the way your patients contact your practice.

After all, an exceptional patient experience starts with exceptional communication.

If a patient has a hard time getting in touch with your practice, the likelihood of a positive patient experience starts to drop significantly. A recent study found that 60% of patients will hang up after waiting on hold for more than one minute — and only a third of those patients will end up calling back.

If your patients have to wait on the phone for an extended time, that also probably means that your practice is dealing with an overwhelming volume of phone calls. Traditional ways of handling phone volume, such as answering services, or hiring more staff, aren’t scalable in the long run, and can actually lead to more work for staff. The best way to reduce the number of calls your practice gets is by implementing a patient communication solution that will help to eliminate inefficient workflows and make it easier to get in touch with patients without taking up more time for your staff.

Satisfied patients leave positive online reviews, recommend your practice to others, and actually want to keep coming back. So, let’s take a look at how improving your patient communication can help you keep your patients happy.


Realize better healthcare outcomes

When the patient voice isn’t heard, this can significantly hamper healthcare outcomes. That could mean everything from not having time to connect with their physician to simply not having their questions answered.

When the appointment is set, making sure that patients actually attend their appointments is crucial. MGMA found that 52.4% of patients who missed their appointments simply forgot. Therefore, ensuring the short time providers have with patients actually occurs is the first step toward improving healthcare outcomes. Reducing missed appointments helps your practice save money and increase efficiency, while ensuring patients receive the quality care they deserve.

One proven way to improve appointment attendance and healthcare outcomes is to implement a robust automated appointment reminder solution. Studies have found that automated text message appointment reminders can reduce no-shows by up to 38%. That translates to less time wasted for your staff, less “phone tag” headaches to try to confirm appointments, and better overall patient care.

 

Reduce staff burnout

One of the top causes of staff burnout is communication overload. Today’s physicians are seeing more patients than ever before, which means practices are becoming overloaded by patient communication. Outdated systems that rely on phone calls or unsecure emails cannot scale to meet the demands of today’s healthcare audience.

So, practices have to find a solution that will allow them to cut down on calls and eliminate the wasted time associated with disorganized email inboxes. By implementing a more effective communication solution, your staff will spend less time trying to keep up with patient communications. All this helps to relieve stress, and in turn, translates to a more engaged staff and a better patient experience.

Secure two-way messaging helps to achieve better communication. Secure messaging can significantly reduce the volume of phone calls within a practice. This helps patients get in touch with your practice easier—simply sending a text message rather than calling, waiting on hold, or being forced to leave a voicemail. With secure messaging, your staff can also respond to patient communications in a fraction of the time it takes to answer phone calls or listen to voicemails.

Get more positive patient reviews

One of the most important reasons to improve your patient communication, though, is to help improve reviews of your practice. As we discussed earlier, the number one complaint practices receive is due to poor service. And the main driver of these complaints is poor communication.

Up to 94% of patients will use online reviews to evaluate providers. Healthcare practices can’t afford to ignore the importance of maintaining a strong online reputation. By eliminating communication headaches and making it easier for your patients to get in touch with you when they want, you’ll contribute to higher patient satisfaction and give your patients something to be excited about.

Positive online reviews come from exceptional patient experiences, and the best way to deliver an exceptional patient experience is with a seamless communication process from the patient’s first contact with your practice, to instructions for follow-up care and recalls.

 

How to improve your patient communication

There are many communication solutions on the market that can help Nextech users improve their patient communication. Klara, for example, is a secure messaging app that offers a strong solution for patient communication that helps improve patient satisfaction. Klara is also a Nextech partner, so this solution is seamlessly integrated with your EHR in order to better reduce staff burnout.

With Klara, you can reduce staff burnout and realize better healthcare outcomes, all in the service of enhancing patient satisfaction. Klara can be used to send out automated text message appointment reminders based on the appointments set in your Nextech solution. Also, because Klara is so deeply integrated with Nextech, users can easily send all communication with and about patients in Nextech—including voicemails—without leaving Klara, so everything is centralized in one place.

The real value of solutions like Klara is how it can be used to help boost a practice’s online reputation. When patients have a better experience, they are more likely to leave positive online reviews. Klara can even be used to send out a link to reviewing sites, prompting patients to rate your practice after an appointment. And now that patients are acting more like retail consumers than ever before, giving patients a positive experience and garnering strong online reviews is one of the best ways to attract new clients and boost revenue.

Using a secure messaging app is just one of the ways to simplify your internal communications. Regardless of the solution your practice implements, the goal should always be to deliver an exceptional patient experience. And with the added benefit of giving your staff valuable hours back in their day, streamlining your communications can help grow your business and meet increasing patient demand.

About Klara

klara

Klara was founded in 2013 with a mission to transform healthcare communication, ensuring every patient receives great care. Klara’s secure messaging platform makes patient communication easy and automates day-to-day tasks such as reminders and follow-ups. Healthcare providers across more than 40 specialties already use Klara to provide a delightful patient experience, while streamlining their own administrative workflows and saving hours per day. To learn more about Klara, visit www.klara.com or email sales@klara.com.

 

Topics Patient Engagement, Partnership, Patient Care

Shannon Woodworth and Frank Sivilli

Shannon is Nextech's Communications Coordinator and Frank is Content Marketing Manager at Klara