February 11, 2019

The Benefits of Improving the Patient Experience

patient experience


Improving patient experience is one of the best ways to attract patients to any healthcare organization. A 2018 report from The Beryl Institute revealed that 91 percent of consumers view the patient experience as “significant to the healthcare decisions they will make.”

There are many ways to improve the patient experience, and they can all be a catalyst for numerous benefits including:

  • Improved patient retention
  • Better reputation through reviews

Better Patient Retention

The success of any healthcare organization is dependent on the number of patients it’s able to attract, but you also need to look at patient retention.

A report from The Advisory Board Company revealed that the average hospital can get an increased revenue of more than $22 million from just a 10 percent increase in “customer loyalty.” That comes out to $1.1 million for every one percent increase in retention. That revenue bump is hard to ignore.

One way to increase the number of recurring patients – and as a result gain more revenue – is by making improvements to their healthcare experience.

Discovering the pain points of the patient experience is easier when you use patient surveys like the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS). In some cases, you might also use custom reports and analysis to find these areas of improvement.

Sara Laskey, MetroHealth’s Chief Experience Officer, and her team found the flaws in its patient experience were actually outside a patient’s interactions with their provider. They created a journey map that tracked a patient’s sentiment from the time they made an appointment to getting the bill for their visit. They uncovered that almost every patient interaction before and after meeting their doctor (such as setting up the appointment, sitting in the waiting room, and getting the bill) had a negative sentiment.

Discovering these pitfalls and improving the experience can have a positive effect on patients, which can lead to increased retention rates.

The next challenge is to attract new patients. You can do this by turning your recurring patients into promoters.

Better Reputation Through Reviews

Reviews are one of the greatest online influencers in healthcare. Findings from Software Advice showed that 72 percent of patients used reviews as the first step when finding a new doctor, and improving the experience can garner better reviews on popular sites like Yelp and Healthgrades.

In fact, we’ve seen this happening. As patient experience is becoming a differentiator between healthcare organizations, we’ve seen the average healthcare review become 12 percent more positive over the last nine years.

A great example of the relationship between patient reviews and experience is at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. Leadership teams receive monthly reports with reviews that provide insights into the hospital’s patient experience, which can lead to new opportunities to retain and acquire more patients.

Constant awareness of reviews and the patient experience can help healthcare organizations achieve their goals while attracting new patients.

Monitoring reviews are just one facet of the patient experience strategy. You should also make an effort to respond to these reviews to show that you care about every piece of feedback and that you constantly engage with patients. However, make sure that each response is HIPAA-compliant to avoid any legal and financial potholes.

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