We live in a review-based society. You ask a friend for restaurant recommendations, you check star ratings before you make that Amazon purchase, and you go deep on user reviews before you book a hotel or vacation rental. Healthcare often goes a step further with more and more health systems and insurers switching to value-based care to determine reimbursements.
For physicians in private practice utilizing reviews and making positive changes based on feedback is a great way to keep insurance reimbursements high, your business moving in a positive direction, and make your patients happy.
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Why feedback is important
I have written before about how listening to your staff can help keep your employees engaged and happy. The same goes for your patients. When a patient feels you are really listening, both in clinical settings and in online reviews, feedback forms, and surveys, you will start to build trust. They are coming to you with the most important thing in their lives, either their own health or the health of their loved ones. Trust is integral to building a solid physician/patient relationship and listening and acting on feedback is a great way to build that trust.
Meeting with a patient in person is the best opportunity you have to build trust. This can be done in a few simple ways. First, start with a welcoming atmosphere in your practice. From the set-up of your waiting room to your front desk staff, ensure patients feel welcome.
Once you are meeting with a patient one-on-one, it is important to take the time to let them explain their concerns. Often, when we feel we have the answer to a problem we want to just jump in and do it. Even if you have a good idea of the issue and how to treat it, it is important the patient feels listened to.
You also don’t want to appear rushed. While you may be under time crunches, don’t let the patient see that side of the business. You need to be 100 percent focused on them while you are meeting. If you are late to their appointment it helps to acknowledge the time they have been waiting, apologize, and then focus entirely on them.
A little personality also goes a long way. Utilizing appropriate humor or personal anecdotes help to build rapport and alleviate stress and anxiety.
Your online presence
You have an online presence whether you are aware of it or not. Countless sites like WebMD, Zocdoc, and Vitals provide reviews of physicians, insurance information, addresses and phone numbers, and more. Google is doing the same thing. Personalizing these listings and keeping them up to date can help you find new patients and offers a brief glimpse into who you are and what you can offer your patients.
If you haven’t done it recently, just Google your name and see what comes up. You may be surprised with how many places you live online.
It is equally important your practice has its own website and social media sites. Your patients need to be able to find and interact with your practice online. If you are not there, you are missing out on potential business.
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