Why patient experience matters now more than ever

Wednesday 10 October 2018 by Graciela Rojas

The healthcare landscape is rapidly changing — and with it, the concept of patient experience. Gone are the days when healthcare was confined to a hospital room or doctor’s office. Also gone are the days when the only goal was for a patient to receive high-quality care and then go on their way.

Now, patients expect more.

They still expect that same high-quality care, but that’s just the baseline. More than that, patients expect things like personalization, convenience, digital savvy, timeliness, follow-up, compassion and courtesy. All of these attributes make up today’s modern expectations for patient experience.

There are few things consumers don't research before making purchasing decisions. Just as they do when choosing a hotel, airline or restaurant, prospective patients seeking new providers often turn to the web to inform their decision, tapping company websites, third-party rating sites and online reviews.

Research shows 77 percent of patients conduct an online search before making an appointment with a physician  while 16 percent use them to validate the choice of a doctor they’ve tentatively selected, meaning most prospective patients' first impression of a provider or healthcare organization occurs online, before they even step foot inside the facility. Consequently, the need for organizations to grow their online presence, optimize their brand and provide accurate information that can positively influence consumers is clear.
These results show that online reviews do play a role in patient retention. But it’s clear that most patients are consulting reviews to decide whether they should make a first appointment with a provider. The good news for providers? This means they can leverage reviews sites as marketing channels, and use them to grow their patient population.
A patient's online journey when seeking a provider typically starts with a symptom — the patient will turn to a search engine, such as Google, Bing or Yahoo, or they might turn to a medical website, such as WebMD, for information on what they are feeling. The patient will decide if he or she needs treatment. From these searches, they might discover physicians who treat those symptoms.

The next step in the journey is selection. Patients use provider information available online to vet potential physicians and decide with whom to schedule an appointment. The most important types of information patients want to know is whether a physician accepts their insurance, how highly he or she is rated, where he or she is located and what other patients say about him or her in their reviews.

The third step is the point of care. "The patient experience is no longer just about health outcomes". "There are many subcomponents that need to be understood and measured." For example, the friendliness of staff, wait times, convenience of parking and food selection can have a substantial influence on the overall patient experience, even though these things aren't directly related to medical care.

The final step is feedback. Patients' online reviews — whether negative or positive — are out there for the world to see, and their effect on other prospective patients' provider selection process should not be underestimated. Online reviews are no different than posting something on a billboard for millions of people to see". Its important to understand that this journey is cyclical. Patients' experiences and the reviews they publish for others to read have far-reaching effects on patient acquisition because they continue to influence others as more people come across them during their own research. Therefore, it is imperative for healthcare organizations to ensure they are providing all of the information patients seek online, lest they risk losing out to competitors.

This is how important for hospitals to have online exposure; Companies like Best Hospital Advisor provide an opportunity for international hospitals to increase exposure to medical travelers who seek to identify providers offering value for money and even local consumers who are shopping for care in a national context. These innovative tool have been developed by Crowd Ventures a healthcare startup which seeks to use the power of the “crowd” to empower consumers in the healthcare market,  BHA has a database of 8400 + providers around the world with consumer-based reviews, information on satisfaction surveys, quality data and additional information that patients can use in making healthcare decisions.

Every Medical Facility now gets searched online, as many patients and prospects base their choices on reviews. Since they make judgments based on what they discover online, it’s imperative to know what’s being said about you so that you can manage your online reputation. Even if you execute caution on what your online posts are, someone else may say something negative or unfair about you. Here are strategies on how to protect online reputation for doctors.
In order to improve online reviews, patient retention, and hospital overall reputation, it’s a wise strategy to make follow-up phone calls a standard practice. Since the facility can’t always tell if a patient will return, it’s helpful to find out after a visit what they thought about their experience. It gives the facility a chance to clear up any lingering questions or doubts they may have. Follow-ups can be effective ways to persuade negative patients to change their attitudes and even reviews about your service. Best Hospital Advisor which provides a transparent health care platform where consumers can access, provide feedback and engage in their own health care decision-making  it’s a good tool for providers can continuously improve their strategies to provide quality care services.
Why using BHA?
BHA acts as a public portal that aims to empower consumers enhance transparency and transform healthcare into a global marketplace.

Benefits for Patients by using BHA                        
·         Platform to evaluate international healthcare providers
·         Search by geographic area, specialty, procedure, international standards, etc.
·         Access to detailed hospital profile 
·         Access to medical service providers  ratings & reviews
·         Access to hospital  key process indicators
·         Access to patients satisfaction metrics
·         Direct communications channel with medical service providers

Benefits for Providers by using BHA
·         Global exposure platform to a worldwide audience of potential patients
·         Search by geographic area, specialty, procedure, international standards, etc.
·         Profile with detailed medical service provider information
·         Capability to request, capture and publish patient reviews in 65 specialties and 1,300 services
·         Capability to publish hospital  key process indicators
·         Dashboard to visualize and management of key process indicators
·         Dashboard to visualize and management of key process indicators

These days online reviews are very important to influencing others to consider a business. The goal of improving online reviews, patient retention, patient acquisition and customer satisfaction can be achieved with a Platform such as Best Hospital Advisor to evaluate international healthcare providers. Encouraging patients with incentives to post positive reviews adds to this winning strategy.
It is crucial to protect the online reputation as a doctor or medical provider since many patients now based decisions on online reviews.
For more information about BHA click here