Defining a Patient’s Experience

Defining a Patient's Experience

We all know that patient reviews are important to obtain for your practice. Typically, we think of them as tools patients read to make a judgment on booking an appointment. In today’s blog, we will explain what elements patients include in reviews and how you can use that feedback to define and elevate your patients’ experience.

Over the years, we have seen patient review topics evolve. It used to be that a patient’s experience with your practice was measured by the quality of service they received in the dental chair. Patients would comment that they felt at ease, their procedure was painless, and the treatment room was clean. Today, more and more touchpoints define a patient’s experience. These touchpoints now include interactions across all contact channels and all stages of their patient journey.

Three Key Areas That Define a Patient’s Experience

First is the dentist’s quality of patient care and how it makes the patient feel. Next is the interactions across all the practice’s channels (think Facebook page, Google Business Profile, your website). Lastly, are the interactions the patient experiences across all stages of their patient journey (booking their appointment, checkout, follow-up care). These three areas are the touchpoints that patients will use to review your practice. 

Within these areas, two main differentiators are within the patient’s experience. One is what we call points of parity. Points of parity explain what a patient feels is a necessary expectation, such as the treatment room being clean. The other, called points of difference, is uniquely associated with your offering – a surprise and delight, if you will. For example, one of our clients sends home little containers of local ice cream with all their wisdom teeth extractions. This little detail is mentioned A LOT in their reviews. Patient satisfaction is a combination of meeting and exceeding expectations and surprising patients with unexpected things.

Tips for Enhancing the Patient Experience
  1. Take a look at all your reviews. Identify the problem areas first. Is it the cost of treatment? Follow-up care? The time it takes to fill out forms in the patient waiting area?
  2. Think systematically about how you can improve that experience by eliminating the pain points. Is it offering treatment financing? Maybe having an after-hours number for patients to call? Offering online forms on your website?
  3. Focus on innovation in these targeted areas of customer experience and then create a bit of surprise and delight in the process.

By going through these steps, you will understand what stages the patients are going through, what aspects of that journey you can eliminate, raise, reduce or create, and you can focus your innovation on specific aspects of the patient experience. This will increase the quality of patient care and the reviews you receive. 

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