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Building patient trust that leads to improved Net Promoter (NPS) scores and referrals for your urgent care clinic requires more than delivering exceptional healthcare services. And in the fast-paced urgent care industry, it can be a challenge. The good news is, staff training and technology that keeps you connected with your patients can help you meet the challenge, earn their trust, and result in more referrals to keep your clinic growing.
Improvement begins with empathy. Although urgent care’s formula for success is speed + efficiency + a smooth visit process, authentic, quality care and compassion are at the root of patient trust. Patients are more likely to choose a doctor because of their personal experience. In fact, a positive personal experience is two and a half times more important to patients than to consumers in other industries1.
For a clinic running at top-speed, it’s not always easy to focus on what patients are feeling when they come to you for care. But each of you has been on the other side of the stethoscope. When you or someone in your family is suddenly injured on ill, remember how you would you want to be treated. Your clinicians may see ten to twenty patients a day with the same ailment or injury, but it is likely the first time your patient has ever gone through the experience.
Here are a few ways to put yourself in your patients’ shoes and add empathy to your patients’ experience:
Test your clinic. Audit workflow and staff reactions by running through a spontaneous patient scenario.
Lead by example. Care is contagious and multiplies through others. Show consistent daily concern for patients and employees.
Unlike primary care physicians, urgent care staff are generally unknown. Adding pictures, bios, or videos on your website helps patients prepare for who they’ll meet.
Outline what to expect – Not knowing is scary. Clearly outline the visit step-by-step and the follow-up process so patients know what’s coming.
A patient engagement solution like Experity Patient Engagement helps you earn patient trust by providing real-time data on walk-in and online reservations so patients can see wait times for themselves. This solution also provides text messaging functionality to give patients detailed instructions for their visits and about appointment times so they can plan (and control) their time.
According to Dr. Richard Larson in “The Psychology of Waiting,” “People generally overestimate the time they spend waiting. To address this, give customers easily accessible, realistic estimates of wait times. This greatly improves the accuracy of the customers’ own guesses at how long they actually waited, and subsequently has a positive effect on satisfaction.”
Some patients just need to talk. Lending your ear and giving direct eye contact builds patient trust.
To make sure your clinics are doing all they can to earn patient trust, use AI-enabled scorecards and automated alert to get immediate visibility into provider and staff performance. With visibility into this information like NPS scores and patient comments, your providers can see what they need to work on to strengthen relationships with patients or pat themselves on the back for earning the trust of their patients.
Show vulnerability. Nothing helps build trust and rapport with a patient trust faster than saying that you know how it feels.
Explain exam steps, show how you document information with the technology you use, and how you arrived at the diagnosis and action plan.
Positive word-of-mouth mentions are vital in driving new patients into your clinic. Ask for feedback on how you’re doing—and use these tools to make it easy.
The patient experience doesn’t end with the visit. Assign someone to check up on progress.
How empathetic is your urgent care center? We know the above recommendations are just a few ways of improving the patient experience. Providing a consistent quality of patient treatment and care at your urgent clinic requires a long-term commitment by every single staff member—from providers to front-desk personnel.
You never know when a certain statement or action makes the difference to a patient giving your urgent care clinic a good or bad review. Accidents and urgent care situations are unpredictable for your patients. But showing empathy is a consistent standard of care that will make your clinic the top choice for patients in your community—both those who directly seek you out and those who are referred to you.
Interested in improving your patient engagement practices and NPS scores? Schedule a demo to learn more about Experity’s patient engagement solution and the tools it provides to help you gain the trust of your patients and get more referrals from happy patients.
1 Cheung-Larivee, Karen. (2012, July 26). “What patients want in a hospital.” Message posted to http://www.fiercehealthcare.com/story/what-patients-want-hospital/2012-07-26.
Learn more about patient satisfaction, NPS, reputation management and practices to grow your urgent care business with this on-demand webinar.