The healthcare model has changed dramatically in recent years, with an increased emphasis on the importance of creating a positive patient experience. But this change isn’t just about building patient trust and loyalty. When patients have a strong relationship with their healthcare providers it leads to earlier disease detection, better compliance, and improved clinical outcomes. Whether it’s urgent care or any other type of walk-in clinic, ease of communication is a critical factor in developing effective patient-centered care strategies and establishing a positive patient experience at your health clinic. Fortunately, today’s business phone systems offer a number of features that walk-in clinics are leveraging to improve service and patient interaction. Here are the top 5 ways clinics are using their phone system to enhance the patient experience:
1 - Establishes Credibility and Confidence
Unless your clinic serves patients on an ongoing basis, you are faced with the challenge of building credibility and rapport with every new face that walks through your doors. Using a unified, professional voice across your clinic’s phone system greetings is an important first step in establishing your clinic’s credibility and building confidence with your callers. When callers hear a clear and soothing voice on the other end, it adds to the impression they are dealing with a caring and capable provider.
2 - Streamline Call Flow
Clinics experience an influx of calls throughout the day, and many of those are simply fielding patient inquiries. Questions like...How late are you open? Where can I pay my bill? Do I have to schedule an appointment? Can often be addressed by your phone systems auto attendant feature. When configured with the patient in mind, your auto attendant can be used to manage some of your call volume by directing callers to pre-recorded messages that share commonly requested information like your hours of operation and walk-in policy.
3 - Patient Education
From routine health screenings to emergency care, patient education plays an essential role in delivering quality care. While most clinics recognize the value of messages on hold in helping manage high call volume, many fail to maximize the full utility of their messages. When the focus of your on hold messaging is patient education and not “thank you for holding” you create an opportunity to share important information your callers need while you have their undivided attention. Urgent care clinics are using their hold messages to cover everything from flu prevention tips and the importance of preventative care to information on their on-site diagnostic capabilities and the insurance they accept. Regardless of the size and scope of your health clinic, when utilized correctly, your on hold messages can be a powerful educational and marketing tool.
4 - Improve After-Hours Patient Care
Immediate care clinics are faced with the challenge of providing responsive patient care 24/7 - whether or not they remain open around the clock. Multi-level IVR provides a flexible solution to your after-hours challenges. With Multi-level IVR, urgent care clinics can program menu options and more sophisticated call flows, routing calls virtually anywhere. This can include urging callers with an emergency need to hang up and dial 911, routing calls to another clinic location, or transferring patients to the on-call physician or P.A. Some phone systems offer the added feature of voicemail transcription, which allows the on-call doctor to prioritize patient needs and respond in a more timely manner.
5 - Patient Follow-up
In an effort to reduce readmission rates, hospitals have made great strides in improving patient follow up. For some individuals, health clinics are their only touchpoint with a healthcare provider. Which is why more and more physician lead clinics are choosing to prioritize follow-up care as well. Many physicians are finding that an old-fashioned phone call is an important tool in serving patient populations at the most at-risk for noncompliance. Whether it’s a simple check-in, presenting next steps or just keeping the dialog open, an after-care phone call is especially important for patients who are preparing for a procedure or those that have been advised to change their plan of care.
Are you getting the most out of your clinic’s phone system? Improving the patient experience may be as simple as selecting the perfect voice, adding professional greetings, and using the technology you already have.