Patient feedback is critical to ensuring quality healthcare and patient satisfaction. Not only does it provide insight into your patient’s experience, it can help you identify opportunities to close gaps in care and improve your reputation.
Whether you collect patient feedback informally through online review sites such as Yelp or Google or through regular patient satisfaction surveys, it’s important that your healthcare practice communicates and responds to the needs of your patients.
In the age of social media, patient feedback can feel a bit overwhelming and skewed at times, however, there are a few things that can help you manage and respond to patient feedback in order to position your practice positively on and offline.
Read on for six tips for managing and responding to patient feedback.
1. Provide Convenient Outlets for Feedback
It goes without saying that if you want patient feedback, it’s probably a good idea to ask for it. Rather than waiting for patients to take the initiative to share their experiences with your practice—or with the internet—asking for feedback after their visit is an effective way to capture their experience in real-time.
One way forward-thinking healthcare organizations are making this convenient for their patients is through automated, post-visit patient surveys sent via text message. For many patients, a quick survey on their mobile phone allows them to provide feedback in less than a minute while their experience is still fresh.
To collect a quantitative measurement of their patients’ experiences, some healthcare organizations leverage the 0-10 Net Promoter Scale® to get a quick pulse on their patient’s overall visit. Advanced patient feedback software can also interpret qualitative responses from patients, using a text processing engine to understand intent.
2. Listen Attentively
Patients appreciate the opportunity to be heard, which is why it’s important to respond to patient feedback with your undivided attention. Whether you’re responding to a negative review online or addressing a patient concern during their visit, how you react can make or break your practice’s reputation. Even something as simple as addressing them by name and personalizing your response can demonstrate that there’s a real person who cares about them on the other end.
When you receive negative feedback, it’s beneficial to accept responsibility and apologize when you’re wrong. Showing sympathy towards their experience can help to mitigate the effects of a negative review, as patients—and other onlookers—will see your authenticity and honesty.
Try to avoid being defensive or impolite, even if the patient feedback is unreasonable. Rather, remain tactful and do your best to address the issue so that they understand you value them and are taking steps to improve the situation.
In the event you’re responding to a positive review online, gratitude can go a long way. If you’re replying to an online review, take a few minutes to reinforce the positive experience they had to help generate buzz about your practice.
3. Respond in a Timely Manner
By collecting patient feedback immediately following an appointment, you can address your patients’ experiences immediately. For those who were dissatisfied, a negative response can trigger alerts for your office staff to provide real-time service recovery. This allows your practice’s front office to intervene before a poor experience escalates or becomes a negative rating.
Responding within one business day is best, but take up to two days if you need to. When your practice responds quickly, you’re more likely to keep the complaint offline and provide a solution while the patient is still thinking about their experience. In fact, you may even be able to turn a disgruntled patient into a loyal advocate by resolving their complaint quickly.
4. Regularly Monitor Feedback Trends
By consistently collecting patient feedback, your healthcare practice is equipped to understand where there might be gaps in care across the board, such as access, quality, and communication.
A patient feedback system can allow you to easily analyze keywords and scores across providers, locations, and sentiments. When you have complete insight into how patients view your practice, you can use data to understand what your practice is doing well while also leveraging data to make business decisions that could improve their experience.
5. Address the Root of Feedback
Equipped with insight into your practice’s performance, you can use patient feedback to identify gaps in care that may be affecting your ability to attract and retain patients, whether it’s long wait times, costly services, or the doctor’s poor bedside manner.
Having a comprehensive understanding of your patient’s needs, wants, and frustrations can help your practice take action to improve services and workflows, leading to increased patient satisfaction, reputation, and loyalty over time.
6. Drive Satisfied Patients to Review Sites
Finally, leverage satisfied patients as advocates for your practice online.
For example, when using an automated patient survey, practices can route patients who respond with a predetermined high experience score, such as a 9 or 10, to social media review sites where they can share their positive experience online. By driving satisfied patients to review sites, you can quickly increase provider and office location ratings on Facebook, Google+, Yelp, and other review sites. This helps future patients make more informed decisions about choosing your practice for care.
Being able to effectively manage and respond to your patient’s feedback, both good and bad, can help your healthcare practice continually improve your quality of service and patient satisfaction while also positioning you above your competition.
To efficiently manage and respond to patient feedback without adding manual to-do item’s to your front desk’s task list, you may want to consider exploring how automated patient satisfaction software can help you manage your practice’s reputation.
That’s what Visalia Medical Clinic did when they discovered many patients only posted to review sites like Google+ when there was dissatisfaction, resulting in an unfairly skewed lower star ranking.
Within the first three months of using Providertech’s patient feedback software, Visalia Medical Clinic’s online reputation improved significantly, noting a 75% increase in Google star ratings. In addition, 35 out of 36 of the reviews posted throughout the first three months were five-star ratings.
To learn more about how Providertech is helping practice’s like Visalia Medical Clinic make a great impression on and offline, schedule a free demo with our experts today.