Some of us excel at anticipating the needs of others. Think about the hospitality industry. It’s full of people who refill your water before your glass is empty, ask you how your meal is in case there is something they can adjust for you, or bring you the dessert menu at just the right time.
It’s not very different when it comes to the healthcare industry - patients expect the same level of service. The inclusion of Healthcare Practitioner ratings in Google search results is a not-so-subtle nod to this trend. Managing these ratings effectively will give you much more control of your online presence. Not only do patient ratings highlight that you are trusted, reputable and highly recommended, they also boost your ranking on Google.
Anticipatory patient service is all about being observant and considerate of patients’ needs, then taking proactive steps to ensure they are met.
Here are three simple ways to train your practice in anticipatory patient service.
1. Preparing your patients
Providing your patient with relevant information about their visit is the best way to help them feel at ease. Consider letting them know about how to find your practice, parking information, what they may need to bring with them, what costs may look like for their consultation or procedure, and anything else you think might be helpful for someone who is coming in to see you.
Continuing this experience via your practice staff is important, so make sure anyone who has contact with your patients has been trained to communicate with compassion and kindness. Having prepared answers or resources for common patient concerns, such as parking validation or nearby chemists, is a great way to manage this.
2. Treatment and condition information
The best way for people to receive information on conditions, treatments and prescribed medication is from their healthcare professional. Patients want the benefit of your years of studying, training, experience and your bedside manner. Without your expertise the task often falls to Pharmacists or Dr Google. These channels can be sufficient, but there is rarely enough context for the information to be complete or tailored for each patient.
Providing patients with printed or online material regarding their visit can be very useful. With HealthShare, Specialists can author FactSheets which are accessible to GPs in their clinical software. Automatic prompts during consultation with patients mean that each GP can print out highly relevant information to be talked through, annotated and handed out for future reference.
3. Follow-up contact
Naturally, your patients don’t like to feel as though once they have walked out of your door, they are out of your mind. An automated follow-up notification – with a summary, further resources, a reminder to re-book - can be all it takes. In some cases, a personal phone call will be more appropriate and will genuinely make your patient feel as though their health and wellbeing is being considered.
Being in tune with your patients is like flexing a muscle – the more you do it, the stronger you’ll be. Anticipatory patient service is the next level in patient care and those who master it will see the results.