Yair Ariel • August-8-2015
In the process, it’s easy to lose focus on the main factor that can make the difference between a clinic succeeding or failing: the patient experience. After all, if the patient experience is not outstanding, they can, and will, take their business elsewhere. And if they love their visits, they will keep coming back and recommend you to friends.
Running a pediatric dental, medical or therapy clinic is hard work. You juggle professional requirements, continuing education, medical records and billing administration and all the concerns of every small business owner-location, staff management and patient acquisition. So how do you make your clinic stand out? Here are the top ways:
1. Communication – To improve the patient experience
One of the main sources of frustration for parents is lack of communication from their child’s clinic. This ranges from rushing to an appointment only to find out that the doctor is running half an hour behind and they could have taken their time, to being told to “go Google” their child’s diagnosis. You can stand out by setting up a communication plan that anticipates customer needs and serves them.
- Sending out SMS notifications to patients when you are anticipating that their appointment will be delayed for whatever reason, or if you have a timeslot open up unexpectedly. This lets them know you value their time. SMS is also a great communication channel for appointment reminders sent a day before appointments-this is a good way to reduce no-shows.
- Maintaining a social media presence, with regular, pertinent updates, and giving patients and their parents a chance to connect to you. This includes Facebook and Twitter. Pertinent updates can include, for instance, health tips, workout recommendations, studies you found relevant, etc. For instance, patients are more likely to come in for a cleaning with you if their parents get an update about the importance of regular cleanings in their Facebook feed.
- Having an updated, modern-looking, relevant website. You’d be surprised how many clinics have a website which looks like it was put together in 1996 and not updated since. Your website should have a link to your appointment calendar, so that parents can make appointments online. Clinic updates should also go on the website.
- Compiling a set of resources for parents to read about common diagnoses and treatments. This should include articles, videos, links, etc. Rather than telling parents to “go Google” their child’s condition, you should be able to point them to the relevant section of your website. This builds trust-you just demonstrated that you care about your patient and anticipate his or her needs.
2. Experience make patients more frequently
The typical clinic’s waiting room is an afterthought, a storage space to keep patients and their parents before the main event. A television playing cartoons or daytime TV and a magazine stand with copies of Highlights Magazine are no way to make your clinic stand out. Make visiting your office a fun experience instead of a chore, and patients will do it more frequently.
Some ways you can accomplish this:
- Building your waiting room around the patient experience. By filling the waiting room with toys, books and activities, you can actually turn it into a place kids want to be, and a place that parents want to bring their kids. The drawback, of course, is the load on the staff; toys have to be put away and cleaned to prevent nosocomial infections, and this can overwhelm a clinic’s staff. A clever way to solve this problem is to use technology. Entertaining kids with movies and video games is a good start. Even this approach isn’t perfect-it’s sedentary, and not an improvement on the movies and video games the typical patient has at home. The next level is interactive technology, like floor-based virtual playgrounds. One of our clients, Coastal Pediatric Dentistry of Hilton Head, SC, has really taken this to a new level; using the Beam virtual playground, they’ve built their waiting room in such a way that patients are begging their parents to bring them in early, sometimes showing up as much as an hour ahead of their appointment.
- Build fun into the visit. Some medical professionals use puppets or toys to demonstrate procedures or distract pediatric patients. Others, like Mike Smith of CBS Therapy, use technology to motivate kids to reach their movement therapy goals. Still others, like Dr. Andre Jham, owner of Star Smiles Orthodontics, use game time as a reward for pediatric patients post-appointment.
Regardless of how you do it, the second you focus on patient satisfaction, you stand out from 95% of pediatric health care providers. Making your clinic unique creates a special relationship with your patients and their parents and increases their satisfaction, improving patient retention and bringing you more patients.
BEAM, a technology developed by EyeClick, is an award-winning gaming solution with the ability to transform any space into a highly-immersive and engaging play area for children. BEAM uses cutting-edge projection technology that mounts to a ceiling, creating an interactive play space on any surface below. You can find BEAM in use at day cares, camps, education facilities, healthcare clinics and many other environments across the globe.
For more information about how BEAM increases customer loyalty and engagement, please visit joinbeam.com.