How to improve the patient experience with effective communication

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Let’s put yourself in the patient’s shoes.

It’s 9:40am and you have just parked at your local healthcare clinic for your scheduled 10am appointment in the outpatient department. You’ve arrived early to make sure you’re ready to see the healthcare provider on time - hoping that they, too, are running on time.

At 10:15am, you are still waiting patiently. Then comes 10:30am - the stress and anxiety of waiting is setting in. You’re full of questions:

  • “How much longer will they be?”
  • “Do they know that you are sitting here, still waiting?”
  • “Why weren’t you told that they were running behind schedule?”
  • “Do you have enough time to duck out and do some errands - and if you do, will you lose your position in the queue?”
  • “Why hasn’t anyone told you what’s going on?”

As frustrations build within the waiting room due to the lack of service transparency, you can’t help but judge. You think about how your patient experience today is different from past customer experiences at the genius bar within the Apple store or the Uber rides you usually take.

Then, you start to tell all of your friends and family about it. It clicks over to 11am and you get so annoyed, you vent your frustration on the staff or you just leave and never return again.

This sounds pretty realistic, doesn’t it?

Patients today have high expectations of your service.

This means that every interaction is an opportunity to apply patient-centred design thinking, improve the quality of service and enhance the overall patient experience.

Communication plays a key role in this. 

Yet, communication errors are the most commonly cited underlying cause of complaints across the Australian healthcare system.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Now let’s rewind.

Let’s say we increase the level of communication between you, the patient, and the local healthcare clinic again.

You have a scheduled appointment at 10:00am. You arrive at 9:40am to make sure that you are ready to see the healthcare provider on time. Then, you check-in for your appointment using the kiosk at the entrance to the facility.

Next, you are advised that, unfortunately, the healthcare provider will be approximately 30 minutes late this morning. However, they also tell you that if you provide your mobile number, you will be alerted when they are nearly ready to see you.

Knowing this allows you to have some freedom around your wait time, making the experience more tolerable. You head directly to a nearby café for a coffee and get a few of your tasks done for the day. Being made aware of the delay has put your mind at ease because you know that you are checked in for your appointment, your healthcare provider knows you are close by and you can wait patiently in a more comfortable environment. The patient expectation has been met!

After 20 minutes of enjoying your morning coffee and feeling productive as you check your emails, you receive a text message alert and make your way back to the waiting area. Before you know it, you’re being called into the consult room to see the healthcare provider - complete with a personal apology for the delay.

You’re not frustrated, telling your friends what a gruelling experience this was, while leaving a bad Google review.

See the difference? Effective patient communication leads to a better patient experience.

Effective patient communication is essential for delivering quality patient care and building good relationships.

Clear, accurate, and timely communication maximises performance, improves patient outcomes and optimises service delivery. It also shows compassion and respect.

patient

So, how can NEXA help?

If you’re a healthcare organisation looking to improve the patient experience with effective communication, our team at NEXA can help.

NEXA is an Australian company that delivers innovative solutions to enhance patient communication.

We’ve been collaborating with different industries to offer more tailored software options. In fact, our team is focused on delivering innovative solutions that streamline the patient journey and improve internal efficiencies. These include:

  • NEXA OASIS - an online appointment booking solution designed to improve the patient experience and your team’s efficiency.

  • NEXA Visit – a mobile app that provides an excellent experience with virtual queue management.

  • NEXA eConcierge - the portable queue management application that humanises the patient experience on-site.

  • NEXA Voice – a feedback solution that accurately measures patient satisfaction levels in real-time to help make service and process improvements.

From licence renewal, to choosing health insurance, registering for university or seeing a doctor, our service solutions are used every day all over Australia and beyond. We improve the patient experience with real data and beneficial applications.

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