In terms of how patients generate revenue for a practice, what factors are most heavily weighted? New patients are difficult and costly to attract, especially in areas without steadily growing populations. Instead, organizations rely on retaining existing patients, or encouraging them to refer friends and family members. A happy patient is a returning patient.
With access to online review portals, healthcare staff has direct visibility into patient satisfaction. Physicians can be rated on sites like Healthgrades and RateMDs based on care delivered, bedside manner, attentiveness, and tons of other criteria. One researcher identified how businesses that gain just one additional star on sites like Yelp gain up to 9% in revenue. Clearly there’s a strong tie between patient satisfaction and healthcare practice growth.
So if you were to focus on building patient satisfaction, where would you start? Odds are that your patient identification process is a safe bet.
Simple and Easy Intake
The leading identified reasons patients make healthcare visits is simply for a health check-up or routine exam. Even if they are seeking treatment for a condition, speed of service in terms of staff responsiveness and timely care delivery are always an important measure of patient satisfaction. The intake and patient registration process has a direct impact on how soon – and how effectively – patients can be served.
The keys to an effective intake process lie in the precision with which patient information is gathered and the speed with which patients can be verified. Technology plays an increasing role in achieving these goals. Biometric verification and the use of smart identification cards help administrators quickly pull up the correct patient records, confirm whether any updates should be made, and send the patient on their way to complete their appointment. When they arrive at the exam room, nursing and doctoral staff can use the same systems to safely check patient identity in seconds.
Delivery of Appropriate Care
Inappropriate or unnecessary care can have a serious impact on patients’ safety and finances. The repercussions also extend to the care facilities, as well. A report from the Institute of Medicine estimated that approximately $210 billion was wasted on unnecessary healthcare in 2009 alone. With ever-rising healthcare costs, we can only assume that number has grown through today. Although some patients may be unaware that a given treatment is unnecessary, discovery is sure to leave a bad impression or even cost the practice their relationship.
Just as it can improve the patient intake process, biometrics also reduces the frequency of inappropriate care delivery. While some facilities have concerns about the investments required for implementation, they are quickly offset by cost savings and risk mitigation. Dr. Raymond Aller said it best in a presentation at the 2016 HIMSS conferenceregarding the cost justification of proper patient identification: “Do we ask that seat belts or brakes be cost-justified in a car?” The benefits of improving patient safety – and patient satisfaction, as a result – are too vital to ignore.
Strong Doctor-Patient Relationships
Patients who participated in a 2015 study from the Journal of Participatory Medicine indicated that the thing they want most from their healthcare is more care from their doctor. Qualities like listening, compassion, and good explanations were sought by as much as 85% of the sample population. Those criteria are especially present in relationships where the doctor is most familiar with their patient’s life and history. Apart from taking detailed EHR notes, that means that doctors need to be confident that they’ve correctly identified the patient every time.
In summary, practice revenue gains come from higher patient satisfaction, which can be directly influenced by patient identification procedures. To achieve that growth outcome, doctors and healthcare facility administrators need to focus on the underlying influences. When’s the last time you looked at your patient identification and registration process? And are you currently leveraging the safest and most reliable methods, like biometric systems?
If you’re interested in exploring a biometrics solution, consider palm vein scanning paired with smart card technology. This multi-factor authentication method has been perfected by our team at Privasent, and we have assisted healthcare facilities nationwide with easily implementing the systems (to the delight of their patients). Contact us today for more information or to request a hands-on trial of the Privasent solution.