Now, more than ever, customer service is essential in healthcare. A recent study found that nearly all patient complaints—96%—were related to customer service issues; only the remaining 4 percent were about the quality of clinical care or diagnoses. Of those service issues, 54 percent involved provider communications and the appointment process, and 35 percent were about wait times.

Creating a positive patient journey requires a holistic, end-to-end approach that begins with the pre-visit and extends through patient follow-up. Here are some key questions to ask at each step in the process:

• Are patients scheduled quickly based on their preferences?
• Do they receive timely reminders, whether by text, phone, or email?

If the answers are yes, no-show rates drop, schedule density is improved, and revenue increases. If not, revenues suffer due to high no-show rates and poor schedule utilization.

• Are patients prompted to arrive with all necessary information and pre-authorizations completed?
• Are they aware of their obligation to pay at the time of visit?

If the answers are yes, patient satisfaction increases and denials decline. If not, patient satisfaction suffers, payments aren’t processed, and denials increase.

• Do the clinical staff have all the patient information they need?

If the answer is yes, patient satisfaction increases, loyalty improves, and on-time visits are more likely. If not, patient satisfaction suffers, care continuity is disrupted, and wait times increase.

• Are patients scheduled for follow-up care based on their preferences?
• Is there a system in place to ensure patients receive care in a timely manner and understand their payment obligations?

If the answers are yes, care continuity is sustained and satisfaction increases. If not, patient satisfaction drops, loyalty suffers, and wait times increase.

By optimizing each touch point before, during, and after the visit, providers can create a more-positive patient journey. This translates into sustained loyalty, lifetime relationships, improved schedule utilization, reduced no-shows, fewer denials, and more revenue.

To learn more about how organizations can reap the benefits of enhancing the patient experience, read our white paper, Elevating the Patient Experience.