What’s the difference between patient-centered care and the patient exerpeice or in-clinic experience. The in-clinic patient experience is a component of patient-centered care.
Patient-centered care can be defined as “providing care that is respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs, and values and ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions”. Knowing your patients and creating an in-clinic environement that supports a patient-centered approach is how you differentiate from other clinics, increase patient satisfaction which increases referrals – a major factor in growth.
There are 7 dimensions of patient-centered care.
Respect for patients’ values, preferences and expressed needs
Coordination and integration of care
Information, communication & education
Emotional support and alleviation of fear and anxiety
Involvement of family & friends
Transition & continuity
How can we apply the 7 dimensions of patient-centered care to the patient journey map?
How does the “in-clinic” experience play a role? The patient journey begins with awareness
Awareness is just that- making prospective patients aware you exist. Awareness may start with an online search, social media, online reviews, or the most powerful awareness tool- existing patient referrals.
Once the patient is aware of your clinic, they move to consideration. Consideration includes, comparing your clinic & services to other options. This is where your website plays a major role.
Consider having video content on your site that tells your story, shares insights on the services you offer including CI’s. Next step is engagement- this is when the patient makes their first appointment.
This is the first stage of the “in-clinic experience”. That first contact with a human in your clinic.
Many new patients are acquired and lost in this phase. Staff training is essential. Making sure the patient shows up and ideally brings a family memebr that is encouraging him or her to seek treatment is important. Now we are in the acquisition phase- this is when the patient has that first appointment.
This is when the physical elements of the in-clinic experience are critical. Have you recently conducted a reception area assessment through the eyes of your patient? If not, you should!
Walk outside and walk from the parking area to the front door noticing everything around you. Is there garbage that has blown up against the entrance? Is there a full trach can outside the front of your practice? Has the sun faded any signage? These things really do matter. Now when you walk in, how does it smell? Does it feel welcoming? Is it cluttered or is it stark? Do you have a TV on the wall?
Is it off? Is it playing daytime TV or the news? God forbid! Or do you have educational, entertaining and engaging content playing that keeps you patient focused on this journey? Next phase is the hearing test & diagnistics – the service phase of the journey. Your mindset, attitude and “bedside” manner all play a key role in this phase. Reviewing test results and recommendations for treatment and fitting are also part of the service phase. This is your time to shine.
You’ve set the stage through awareness, consideration & acquisition phases- you have been building trust – now you are locking in your relationship with your patient. Follow-up is also a key part of the service phase and where your practice management system and automations play an important role. Retention is the secret sauce in any successful clinic- this phase of the journey is where the feedback loop connects and patients refer new patients and the journey starts again.