Healthcare practices can no longer afford to takepatientsatisfaction and loyalty for granted. Patient retention is becoming more and more of a main priority among medical facilities, and patient comfort has consistently proven to be a key player in this process.
Your patients are increasingly in-tune with the competition surrounding healthcare practices. They know that your practice or facility is not their only option. More importantly, they know that other practices are going above and beyond to ensure patient comfort. It’s only a matter of time before your patients begin comparing healthcare practices, looking into your competitors, and possibly making the transition to a medical facility or provider that ensures their comfort to a greater degree.
As director of patient satisfaction, this situation should concern you – it goes in the opposite direction of your primary goal, patient retention. You’re not supposed to lose patients (especially to local competitors.) You’re supposed to provide them with such a satisfying patient experience that they continue choosing your facility for their medical needs.
If you’re beginning to lose confidence in your patient retention, and believe your rates could use some improvement, then you need to familiarize yourself with the rise of healthcare competition, the value of a first impression and the rewarding results of a simple, unexpected touch when it comes to patient satisfaction.
The market for healthcare practices has expanded drastically. Despite this growing competitive factor, your medical facility is also faced with another, and possibly more threatening, competitor: the internet. Old-fashioned “word of mouth” now comes in the form of online reviews, and the use of social media to share thoughts and ratings about healthcare providers is accelerating tremendously. This means that any time your patients express exceptionally strong feelings towards their treatment at your facility, their opinion is going to travel fast.
The Importance of First Impressions
You don’t want your patients speaking badly about your medical facility, do you? Of course not, so you need to eliminate anything that might evoke negative remarks from them. One of the first experiences your patient has is with his or her hospital gown. Most people dread healthcare settings in general, but when they’re forced to wear revealing, uncomfortable attire, that dread combines with extreme discomfort, making for a very unpleasant experience.
You might be thinking, “A hospital gown doesn’t have that much of an impact on patients.” But you’d be surprised how big of a role comfort plays in the patient experience. People take all details, no matter how small they may seem, into account when forming a final opinion of your healthcare facility. They’re going to be especially harsh if they’ve been shivering in an insufficient hospital gown the entire length of their stay.
Delivering The Unexpected
Maybe it means providing extra blankets without being asked. Maybe it means offering a thicker pair of socks. And, maybe, delivering the unexpected and really wowing your patients means providing warm, plush garments. When you exceed patient expectations, you improve patient retention, as well as encourage positive online reviews of your facility.
Patient retention rates are becoming more and more critical in this era of healthcare expansion and practice consolidation. Don’t give your patients reason to wander down the street or online in search of another facility. Make a strong first impression by excelling in something as basic as the patient gown or robe. Remember: the little details go a long way. Deliver the unexpected, improve patient comfort and satisfaction, and ensure higher patient retention.
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