While good outcomes are the top priority for patients and providers, the way a patient perceives they are treated by their healthcare provider is nearly as important to them. And for good reason; studies show that bedside manner has a measurable effect on patient health. Understanding and improving the way your practice serves patients is key to improving not only patient satisfaction rates, but to enhancing the overall care you provide.
One way to improve patient care is to take the concept of “good bedside manner” and extend it far beyond the patient’s bedside.
Why Bedside Manner Matters More Today Than Ever Before
Across the board, healthcare providers looking to grow and strengthen their practices are putting a greater emphasis on the patient experience as a whole. As opposed to patient satisfaction rates, patient experience has less to do with the final result of care provided and focuses instead on the delivery of the healthcare a patient receives from a provider in entirety – clinical and non-clinical – from the perspective of the patient.
This matters more now than ever. In today’s internet-driven world, a patient that has a bad experience with their healthcare provider’s office will not only find care elsewhere, but will share their negative experiences with friends, family and the greater community online. Even the Wall Street Journal has covered the critical effects of bad online reviews on physicians’ practices.
Consider your online presence, and then consider this: according to Pew Research,
- 72% of Internet users say they looked online for health information within the past year.
- 47% of Internet users search for information about doctors or other health professionals.
- 38% of Internet users search for information about hospitals and other medical facilities.
Bottom line: a better provider/patient relationship results in better patient outcomes, improved patient retention rates, and more new patient referrals. Delivering better bedside manner throughout the patient experience is a win-win for providers and patients alike.
Extending Bedside Manner to the Entire Patient Experience
The first step to extending good bedside manner beyond the bedside is to recognize that all patient interactions matter – not just what happens during an appointment.
To improve patient experience, you first need to assess the service you are currently providing and identify where there is room to improve.
- Do patients have access to information they need from you easily and promptly?
- When a patient calls your office during office hours, is staff always responsive to their needs and preferences – even during peak busy times?
- Do patients have a way to get in touch with your office after hours, as needed?
- Are patients in your waiting room greeted respectfully and given staff’s full attention?
- What kinds of wait times are your patients facing when they call? In-person at reception?
- How difficult is it for patients to find parking? Restrooms?
- Is the information on your website current and accurate?
If you want your patients to recognize that you as their healthcare provider are empathetic and dependable, you need to demonstrate these attributes across the patient experience as a practice: being readily accessible to patients as needed and responding to them courteously, respectfully and promptly is simply a must in the modern healthcare industry.
What does good “bedside” manner look like on the phone?
“The employees at your service are saints. We have very needy patients, and they always remain professional and courteous while always treating our patients with respect.”
Katherine B., Administrator, NYC Pain Management, a Doctors Answer client
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At the Doctors Answer, we recognize that every patient interaction matters. Our medical service answering professionals provide your patients an accessible, reliable, and respectful phone experience when they contact your office, 24/7. Visit our website to learn more.
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