The fear of receiving bad news at the doctor’s office can set people on edge, and part of a medical professional’s job is to put a patient at ease. Take some time today to learn about why patient satisfaction matters and how you can work to improve the relationship between you and your patients.
Why Patient Satisfaction Matters
With the evolution of primary care and the development of patient rights, patient satisfaction has become one of the cornerstones of modern medicine. The Internet has drastically changed the patient-doctor relationship by providing a patient with a wealth of information and a higher level of transparency.
Patient satisfaction has become the primary concern of many healthcare providers because it dictates various success metrics for hospitals and physicians. It affects everything from clinical outcomes and patient retention to financial support and even publicity.
Putting the Patient First
A patient’s medical journey encompasses the initial phone call or online search, the waiting room experience, and the face-to-face interaction with the medical provider. Employees should embody positivity, patience, and respect for all individuals. Timeliness and alertness are traits patients often value most during their medical experience, both on the phone and during the appointment. In fact, "over half (53%) of patients who reported limited access to healthcare said they had left an appointment because the wait was too long".
Patients can become frustrated if they feel uninformed about a diagnosis, a treatment, or—worse—if they feel ignored. Educate your patients, and don’t assume they fully understand all procedures and medical terms. Unfamiliar medical equipment, such as an EchoTable™ or a mammography chair, may heighten anxiety and lead to distress. Find the weak spots in your own chain of information, so you can validate your patients’ concerns and provide the answers they need.
A medical provider’s ability to reliably convey information is a key aspect of patient satisfaction. For various reasons, some patients may not be comfortable speaking directly to a doctor about their ailments. A confident and capable nursing staff is critical to not only manage patients, but also step in when a doctor’s communication abilities are limited. Nurses often spend more one-on-one time with patients than doctors—inquiring about the nurses’ perspective on their patients’ physical and emotional status will make you a better doctor as well.