Top 5 Ways to Exceed Patient Expectations During a Pandemic

How are you making sure to keep wait times low and office visits safe for your patients? How smooth is your patient flow?

COVID-19 has truly taken a toll on both patient-doctor relationships and office operational efficiency, but I’m here to show you how you can still deliver a service that exceeds expectations, especially during this pandemic. Now more than ever, it’s never been more critical to be sensitive to the needs of others, and who more than your patients? What used to be routine appointments, have become uphill battles for many. But they don’t have to be.

Navigating through the new normal

It’s certainly a whole new world we’ve got going on, but not one we’ve hoped for. Can we put the genie back in the bottle, please?

In all seriousness, I have learned a lot from the experience so far, successfully maintaining positive relationships with my patients. My goal is to make everyone feel safe as they try to navigate a routine appointment, without limiting their usual experience.  It’s important to continue delivering excellent service, but now that the pandemic has changed our world, it definitely makes it a lot harder to exceed those expectations.

Here are my top 5 tips to doing your best for your patients:

Tip #1: Make Pre-Registration Easy & Clear

When you’re doing your usual pre-visit registration over the phone, make sure to also have information about COVID-19 readily available. As your office is calling patients, make sure staff provides information regarding changes to their visit. For example, if you need people to line up outside, just let them know. Make sure they’re aware of the mask policy (of course) and that their temperature will be taken upon arrival. Let them know what will happen in case a patient, including them, does show signs of the virus during the visit.

Lastly, don’t just tell them, but thank them in advance for completing forms that screen them for any symptoms.

Tip #2: Arrival Needs to Be Friendly, But Safe Too

Have you set your workflow in place yet? How will patients flow most smoothly in your office? Make sure you have that plan ready to go. If patients need to wait outside, just make sure they can get that clear information in advance.

The best way to have a friendly, safe arrival is to send a reminder text in advance, or even a call, and just let the patient know where they are able to wait for check-in, and of course that you’re very happy to see them! Not only will this make the patient feel safe, but your process will go so smoothly for you that every other patient will feel safe too.

Tip #3: Make All Forms Digital

We live in a digital age, use it! Make pre-registration forms all digital so that patients have an easier time completing them. This lets patients fill them out in advance, so that when they get to your office, the only thing they’re really concerned about is keeping themselves and others safe. Send your forms out via email, reminder call or text, this will especially help to maintain a solid relationship with your patients.

Tip #4: Sanitize!

Have hand sanitizers and soap readily available in every corner of your office. Go one step further and let your patients be aware of your daily sanitization process. This will help them feel safe as they navigate through your office or use the restroom. The key here is to make everything feel as close as possible to the usual experience and minimize potential anxieties.

Tip #5: Follow up within the week

Last, but never least, follow up with your patients! This has always been the golden rule of course, but now? It’s vital more than ever – not just for your patients, but for your office too.

It’s a wonderful opportunity to take a moment to survey patients on their experience and ask them how you can improve. We can all always improve, right? You never know when a patient might make a great new suggestion. Follow up via email or phone call within the week

 The Takeaway

As long as you stay sensitive to everyone’s needs while maintaining a safe environment, you’ll be on the right track. Pay attention to as many details as possible, and take any opportunity for growth. And as always, wear your mask!

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