Back in the day, medical practices and clinics were able to gauge the satisfaction of patients through the number of regular patients and the number of referrals that they received from those patients. Some practices and clinics would also send out-patient satisfaction surveys, however only a small portion of those would ever be returned. Fast forward to today when many physicians and practices are potentially facing penalties under the Clinician & Group Consumer Assessment of Health Providers and Systems of CG-CAHPS.
According to the government website, patients who are satisfied with their doctors are more likely to be compliant and patients who are compliant are more likely to be healthier than non-compliant patients. The reasoning then goes that healthier patients are less expensive overall within the healthcare system, so physicians and clinics who have satisfied patients should get paid more than physicians who have dissatisfied patients, instead of greater success being its own reward.
How to Create Satisfied Patients
One way to improve patient satisfaction is to improve account management. Problems with otolaryngology management, billing and coding can lead to errors with medical billing services, which can make for some pretty frustrated and irritated patients. ENT account management should be provided effectively and efficiently, offering regular training sessions, testing, periodic audits and checks by the office manager, to ensure that everything is being done according to healthcare regulations and legal requirements.
In addition to making an effort to improve account management, practices should also ensure that their scheduling is done effectively. Things like timely appointments, timely care – including prescription refills and returned calls, communication skills with patients and even something as difficult to gauge as what your patient things of you, can all work toward or against patient satisfaction. Your staff and the way that your office performs can also be considered, which is why taking control over your medical billing services is more important than ever before.
Things You Can Do
The best way to make a good impression on your patients is to hire front desk staff and assistants that radiate friendliness and take care to return calls and interact professionally with patients. A good front desk person is worth their weight in gold, especially in a busy office. Starting the patient-doctor relationship with a friendly face, voice and demeanor can really help to begin things on the right foot, creating happier and more satisfied patients all around.
Make sure that you meet the expectations of your patients. This means to make sure you start your appointments on time each day, spend enough time with each patient to make sure their needs are met, and then move on to the next patient so they are still being seen on time. If you find that your appointments “go over” on a regular basis, try extending the allotted time given to each patient, have your staff get all of the important information ready for you before you get in the room, and find other ways to streamline your appointments without making the patient feel slighted.
Eye contact counts. Most physicians are busy with a million things going on at once, but when you are in the room with your patient, make sure to listen and give good eye contact. You would be surprised to learn that not paying attention is the number one complaint made by patients nationwide. Doctors are so busy inputting information into the computer that they don’t have time to look at their patients while they are talking. Consider hiring a medical scribe to follow you from appointment to appointment to write down all of the important information so you can focus on the patient.
Take Control of ENT Account Management
Another major frustration expressed by patients is related to issues with medical billing services. The recent changes to the healthcare system are just as frustrating to your patients as they are to you and your staff. If you can improve account management and communication with your patients, you will take big steps toward improving patient satisfaction. Consider hiring outsourced medical billing services for all of your otolaryngology management, billing and coding if your staff is too overworked at this time. You can always get back on track and do in-house billing again in the future, once things get more under control.
To learn more about all of the options available to help you improve your ENT account management and make changes that will positively improve your patient satisfaction scores, contact MD Pro Solutions. We have a wide range of training and support services, as well as outsourcing opportunities for medical billing services, that you can use to boost your practice and make improvements that will help it grow. Call today at 508-946-1665 to get a FREE consultation from our team of experienced otolaryngology consultants and trainers.