Patient Experience

Patient Experience Overview

A bad experience is told to many people, so it is important to focus on the patient’s experience. The patient experience can include a variety of interactions throughout the healthcare transaction. This can begin with how easy it is to park at your building, to the greeting, lab, nurse, physician, check out process, etc. Each step throughout the appointment is considered to be a touchpoint and any touch point can make a patient feel one way or another. The transaction as a whole will make the patient decide whether they trust the physician with their care or not.

What exactly is the patient experience?

The term “patient experience” is a term that can be used for a variety of meanings and has been in the forefront of every practice’s mind since 2012 when patient satisfaction metrics became tied to reimbursement. The patient experience can be defined as every interaction that the patients have with your practice – from pre-visit, parking, check-in, lab, nurses, physician, check-out, etc. Every single touchpoint makes up the patient experience.

What is patient satisfaction?

Oftentimes, the patient experience and patient satisfaction are used interchangeably, but they are different. Patient satisfaction refers to a subjective positive or negative experience at their visit. Two patients can have the exact same experience, while only one has positive patient satisfaction. For example, the ease of access to patient records is not subjective, but whether a patient finds a lobby enjoyable is subjective.

Why is the patient experience important?

The patient experience is important for so many reasons, but mainly because the patient will decide whether or not they trust and like their physicians based on their whole experience. With each patient’s positive experience, you are working towards enhancing revenue, increasing patient engagement, and improving the reputation of your practice.

The patient experience is crucial in today’s time because patients are more empowered now than ever before. They are able to do research on their own about diagnoses, other providers in the area, etc. Their expectations for quality healthcare are higher than ever before. This also means that patients are much more likely to change healthcare providers as well.

A positive patient experience will typically lead to two huge objectives being met; compliance to physician’s recommendations and a patient sharing their positive experience for more referrals through word of mouth or testimonials.

What should be done to improve the patient experience?

The first step in improving the patient experience is hiring someone to help you navigate each step of this. It is essential for this person to be external and The Bienville Group can help you navigate this. While going through this, it is also important to develop your company culture if that has not been done previously. A clear company culture and a patient experience strategy will ensure your practice’s success with patient experience.

Then the touchpoints can be divided between “non-personal” interactions and personal interactions. The non-personal interactions can be critiqued first. This can be everything from the parking lot, text message automation, and even the lobby.

What are touchpoints in the patient experience?

Touchpoints are considered to be any time or place the patient “interacts” with your practice. It is important to note that these touchpoints can be “non-personal” interactions too. These non-personal interactions paired with every personal touchpoint make up the total patient experience.

One of the first steps in improving the patient experience is understanding how your patients prefer to communicate. Ask yourself a few questions, such as “Do my patients prefer digital or personal interactions?” This question along with many others will help you decide which way your practice should modify touchpoints as needed. It is essential to do this frequently as it is ever-evolving.

Referral Process or New Patient Process

How easy is it for a patient to be established with your practice? How easy is it for a referring provider to refer someone to you? It is so often seen that the process for a patient to establish new care is long and unnecessarily complicated.

Are your new patient packets easy to find? Easy to read and understand? Does the physician and nurse have time to review these documents before the patient is seen to avoid duplicate conversations?


Appearance can play a huge role in the patient experience too. Are parking directions and entrance clearly labeled? Is the parking lot and lobby clean? Is your front desk put together? Does your staff look well-kept? Every one of these non-personal touchpoints can mean so much to patients as they see all of these things before they even see a person at their appointment.

Staff and Physicians

Once your patient has been referred, made it to the office, and is at your office. They will begin a series of interactions. The first being check-in at your front desk. Is it easy to navigate? Did your front desk staff greet them within 5 seconds? Is there difficulty with checking in? If it is a digital check-in, is your front desk ensuring that patients without the technical skills are able to navigate this?

Then they will proceed to the lab and nurse and then finally the physician. How are they treated through all of these personal touchpoints? Is check out easy? Is your front desk friendly again?

Other Touchpoints

Each practice will vary as to which touchpoints there are. Some offices may offer valet, some patients may not need to go to the lab, etc. It is essential to outline what exactly your patient touchpoints are for the patient experience. Call The Bienville Group today for a full analysis of your patient experience.

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Why choose The Bienville Group for Patient Experience consulting?

Your practice needs to be focused on the patient experience. This will help increase your patient satisfaction, referrals, and in the end, profit. The Bienville Group will be able to guide you through every step of developing the patient experience strategy. We have years of proven experience. For more information, give us a call now!

Medical Solution Providers

The Bienville Group is proud to partner with the following world-class medical solution providers:

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