Patient Satisfaction Tips
L.A. Care’s Patient Satisfaction Tips are related to the Clinical and Group Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CG-CAHPS). IPAs’ CG-CAHPS scores partially determine payouts for L.A. Care’s VIIP Program (Value Initiative for IPA Performance). If you represent an IPA practice or clinic, please share these tips with the providers in your network.
We understand that COVID-19 has changed health care. L.A. Care wants to support providers in numerous ways, including sharing resources on patient experience, while acknowledging the challenges of the pandemic.
If you have any questions or have tips you’d like to share with the provider community, contact L.A. Care’s Quality Improvement (QI) Department.
Patient Satisfaction Tips 2021
#1: Make Sure Patients Understand
Connect more with your patients by speaking in a way that is clear and concise. In a 2018 survey, 77% of respondents indicated that it’s very important that their doctors talk in a way they can easily understand. Observe how you speak with patients and identify ways to be more clear or use simple language.
#2: Prioritize Respect
Above all else, make sure patients are always treated respectfully. This may seem like common sense but we could all use a reminder. Every patient deserves to be treated with the golden rule in mind.
#3: Find Joy in Your Work
Providers and staff have so many responsibilities — don’t let these responsibilities make you forget why you answered the call to care. Consider writing your own personal oath down as a reminder.
#4: Put On a Happy Face
Providers need to seem approachable to patients. This means appearing pleasant, open and interested. Leave other issues outside the exam room and avoid coming off as hurried, irritated or bored. Self-awareness is key.
#5: Get to Know Your Patients
To really improve patient satisfaction, providers, staff and health systems must truly make an effort to get to know their patients. Ask your patients about their home or family life. Share things about yourself. This helps patients feel comfortable sharing intimate details regarding their health. Sharing is caring.
#6: What Do Patients Really Want?
Never assume what patients want. Ask questions and engage patients beyond theirs charts. Patient surveys can help and don’t have to be complicated. Simply offer a short paper or web-based questionnaire at the end of the visit. Or you can consider sending it to patients afterwards via mail, email, or IVR. Track results and see how they change when you make improvements in the office.
#7: Address Questions
Answer phone calls with positive tone and try to answer all your patients’ questions. If you don’t have the answer, say so. Inform patients that you don’t have the answer to their question right now, but you are working on a solution and will follow up.
#8: Upgrade Your Pre-appointment Process
Why not try a system that allows patients to manage their own appointment bookings? Consider using digital tools such as web forms to collect information before a visit or text messaging to remind them of appointments.
#9: Hello, How Can I Help You?
Always be prompt in answering and returning phone calls. Remember the following:
- Try not to keep patients on hold for more than 30 seconds.
- Avoid multiple transfers.
- Try to return phone calls and emails within a standard time frame.
#10: How to Prioritize Your Patient Phone Calls
Create a system to return patients calls based on the individual needs of patients. Return calls from patients with severe or urgent health concerns first.
#11: Make Check-in Cheery
Check patients in quickly and greet them with a smile. Direct patients to the waiting room and let them know how long their wait time will be. If their scheduled appointment time is delayed, inform them as soon as possible.
#12: Set the Example for Others to Follow
Every staff member in your practice should be aware of customer service guidelines and best practices. Make your organization’s commitment to providing a caring and respectful environment for patients known. You can do this by taking the lead in your practice.
#13: A Smile Can Go a Long Way
Speaking in a caring and welcoming manner can help improve overall patient satisfaction within your practice. Try smiling to brighten up your (and others’) day.
#14: Take a Seat
Try sitting during your appointments with patients. One study revealed that patients estimate that they spend more time with providers when the physician sits down. Sitting is also especially important when delivering bad news.
#15: Use Technology to Engage
Try using interactive tools like patient portals that let patients schedule appointments, request refills, review test results, and communicate with your staff through secure messaging. Consider offering free Wi-fi in the waiting area. You can even think about using interactive quizzes and surveys to educate patients about healthy lifestyle choices.
#16: All Hands on Deck for Patient Experience
All staff members in a practice contribute to the patient’s experience. Thus, everyone must be on board with a patient-first approach. If your office staff do not engage well with patients, your patients may get the impression that you don’t care about them.
#17: Focus on Patient Education
Studies show that patient education can improve patient retention. Educated patients are empowered patients, who may have better adherence, make healthier choices and may be more satisfied.
#18: Protect Confidentiality
Remind staff of guidelines around discussing patient information. If a patient overhears staff discussing another patient’s test results, they are unlikely to feel safe and trusting in your practice.
#19: How to handle a patient’s complaint
Listen and ask questions regarding patient complaints. Instead of saying "I don’t know" or "I can’t help you", take responsibility. Offer them a seat or water and let them know that you understand their concern and are looking into the issue and the appropriate person who can help.
#20: Make Patients Feel Heard
Make your patient the sole focus of the appointment. Listen intently and wait until they stop speaking. Studies have shown that the average patient gets to speak between 12 and 15 seconds before their physician interrupts them.
#21: Use Plain Language
Try to use everyday language to explain complicated terms. When you use terms that patients don’t understand, they can experience confusion and frustration, which can negatively impact adherence.
#22: How to Create Engaging Relationships With Patients
Try to be empathetic to patients’ experiences. Tell them that you understand them and thank them for sharing.
#23: Create an Environment of Caring
Interactive dialogue and engaging body language will significantly reduce patient anxiety, as well as other emotional barriers that impact the care delivery experience.
#24: Ask patients About Their Social Needs
In a survey, 97% of respondents wanted their medical provider to ask about their social needs. Try to ask your patients more about their social needs, such as access to food/balanced meals, transportation to receive medical care, or housing stability. If they need assistance in any area, consider referring to community resources that can help.