Most businesses would not be financially sustainable with a meager approval rating. Healthcare is not just any business, though.

More than 70 percent of adults in the United States feel the healthcare system is failing to meet their needs in at least one way, and more than half of Americans think it is going in the wrong direction. Despite the dissatisfaction with the healthcare system, the average American spends $13,493 annually on healthcare.

With the rapid growth of healthcare consumerism, most U.S. patients are not passive participants in their healthcare anymore. They are increasingly frustrated with not only the cost of healthcare but also the lengthy wait times for appointments. Also, they are not satisfied anymore with the status quo, which is why healthcare providers are focusing more on promoting and ensuring patient satisfaction.   

When patients are dissatisfied with the healthcare they receive, they are less likely to follow medical advice or return for future care. Dissatisfaction among patients is associated with higher mortality rates and poor treatment outcomes and directly impacts revenue, patient retention, practice reputation, conversion rates and, most importantly, quality of care. 

Whether you have a solo practice or are part of a large medical group, there are numerous ways you can proactively increase patient satisfaction. You don’t have to implement all these methods at once, but by combining them you are more likely to have satisfied and engaged patients. 

1. Offer Easy Appointment Scheduling

Research has shown that a high percentage of patients seek providers that offer digital scheduling. A cost-effective yet consumer-friendly option for medical groups and other healthcare providers is conversational artificial intelligence (AI). 

Most commonly used for appointment scheduling and rescheduling along with clinical outreach, conversational AI offers the ability to answer any time, whether after hours or to best meet the patient’s availability throughout the day, reducing  wait times for patients and decreasing no-shows for practices. Once a patient has scheduled an appointment, this technology enables providers to remind patients  of upcoming appointments and communicate important appointment prep details which may be associated with improved efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare

2. Provide Personalized Patient Engagement

Knowing your patients’ communication preferences is key to a successful patient engagement program. Why? Because it allows you to engage them at the right time through the right channel with the right message. It is this type of personalized messaging and communication that helps improve patient satisfaction. 

Delivering customized messages that contain relevant patient education, health information and navigation support empowers patients to make informed healthcare decisions. Conversational AI, unlike some chatbots, provides a more human-like interaction for patients while giving them information specific to their healthcare. This personalized communication engages patients by being able to provide meaningful guidance and information, all without waiting in an overwhelmed call queue.  

3. Proactively Gather Patient Feedback

Did you know that only 16 percent of healthcare organizations integrate patient feedback and preferences into clinical practices, even though 66 percent agree it’s important to do so? When the process of obtaining and analyzing patient feedback is done correctly, it allows healthcare providers to better understand patient preferences, boost patient satisfaction and engagement and drive continuous improvement. 

Thorough and detailed feedback also allows providers to boost patient acquisition and retention, increase referrals, identify gaps in care and growth opportunities and strengthen staff satisfaction. A popular method for gathering patient feedback while measuring patient satisfaction is digital surveys. Utilized to measure access to and quality of care, medication adherence and gaps in care, they help practices make business decisions that impact the experience of their patients. They also enable them to continuously work to improve how care is delivered. 

Digital health solutions like conversational AI enable healthcare providers to quickly and easily gather real-time input they can use to improve the care experience. They are useful in identifying common patient pain points and concerns and can continuously be refined to better meet patient needs. 

Medical groups employing conversational AI can gather feedback from their patients about their healthcare experiences without those individuals having to manually fill out a survey. The practice can implement sentiment analysis algorithms to extract insights from qualitative feedback and identify areas for improvement. 

4. Focus on Patient Education

Healthcare providers have a responsibility to not only care for their patients but also ensure that they understand the information being offered to them. Not every patient has the same level of education or health literacy or speaks the same language, so providers must take social determinants of health (SDOH) into account when communicating with them. 

When healthcare providers effectively educate patients, those individuals better understand their health conditions and choices and are actively engaged in their care. Patient education is especially important in chronic disease management, where it helps with self-management. Some chatbots provide generic medical answers to patients, but conversational AI platforms can share information in the healthcare consumer’s preferred language and adjust the information based on health literacy levels.

5. Improve Patient Navigation

Navigating the sometimes fragmented healthcare system can be difficult for patients, especially those with low health literacy or who are challenged with an SDOH. Without enough direction, they might delay care or forgo it altogether.

Conversational AI alleviates some of these obstacles by answering patient questions, providing tips on how to prepare for an upcoming appointment or offering guidance on next steps after a provider visit. This can entail assistance with scheduling follow-up appointments, following a recommended care plan and understanding test results.

This technology tool also makes it easier for patients to get a medication refilled, obtain a referral, and better understand how and when to schedule specialty care or coordinate care between healthcare providers. Conversational AI can even diminish confusion about insurance coverage by answering questions about plan benefits and payments.

Improving Patient Satisfaction With Providertech

Providertech’s advanced conversational AI is designed to help physician practices of any size revolutionize patient engagement, deliver better health outcomes, streamline operations and, of course, improve patient satisfaction. Contact us today to learn more!