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Elevating Patient Experience: How to Create the Office of Tomorrow

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Have you ever been to a medical office or a clinic and there seems to be noticeable clutter and chaos when you first walk in? It probably caused you to pause and think about the type of care you’re going to receive as a patient. The first impression, and each experience afterwards, is crucial for establishing a positive relationship with your patient, gaining their trust, and getting them the hearing healthcare they need. Part of building that sense of safety and comfortability with your patients includes having a modern, patient-forward office — the office of tomorrow.

The office of tomorrow is one that considers and anticipates the needs of their patients and gives patients the impression that they can trust this place with their healthcare. Let’s take a look at how you can create the office of tomorrow in your practice.

Key Takeaways:

  • Your physical office should be a priority in elevating the patient experience.
  • The office of tomorrow builds trust and helps patients feel comfortable.
  • Assess your current office by putting yourself in your patients’ shoes.
  • Create the office of tomorrow by appealing to the five senses.
  • Make accessibility and communication a priority in your practice.

Assess Your Current Hearing Healthcare Office

Close your eyes and picture your practice. Try to put yourself in the position of your patients. When was the last time you sat in your waiting room or in your testing booth? When did you last sit in the patient’s seat across the desk? It can be eye-opening to realize how long it has been since we’ve put ourselves in our patients’ shoes, and it is the first step in assessing your current office experience. After you’ve placed yourself in their position, you can start cataloging what you see, hear, feel, smell, and maybe even taste. CQ Partners helps members out with a comprehensive self-assessment, but you can take yourself through the senses to see what your patients are experiencing in your practice.

Appeal to the Five Senses

The office of tomorrow might sound like something out of a futuristic sitcom, but it really just meets the current needs and expectations of your clientele. It’s easy to achieve the office of tomorrow if you cover the five senses:

Sight

What your patients view when they visit your office begins when they pull into the parking lot. They are looking for clear signage that tells them they are in the right place. Your hours should be clear and visible, and anything on your windows or doors should send the right message for your practice.

After a patient walks through the door, what do they see? Is it organized and modern? Do the colors and layout feel inviting? Consider the art on your walls and whether it evokes positive feelings. Keep any loose paperwork out of sight from patients. Adjust your lighting to a comfortable setting for both customers and your staff. Have signage in the waiting room that tells the story you’d like patients to know. Little adjustments like these can really put your patient’s mind at ease and make them comfortable in your care.

Your testing booth is the next step. It may be hard to control your wires and equipment, but finding a way to keep them organized will lessen the stress on your patients. They might also notice whether or not your equipment seems modern, or outdated. Taking the step to get help for hearing loss can be overwhelming for many, so a comfortable testing booth is important.

Sound

What your patients hear in your office can not only affect how they feel, but it can also become a matter of privacy. Can you overhear private conversations from the waiting room? Is any protected information being discussed out in the open? Don’t leave your patients wondering if their information is being shared.

A strategic schedule can help you to avoid overheard negative conversations. Having walk-in hours separate from when you’re fitting a new patient, or taking repairs at certain times or in separate rooms takes away the chance of patients hearing any complaints or negative experiences.

Consider the sounds you’re purposefully filling your waiting room with. Whether it is music, or television, it should be of a neutral sentiment and at a comfortable volume. If you do play music, an ad-free service might be the best option. There are also sounds to consider that may not be in your control such as heavy traffic, or adjoining offices.

Touch

Have you ever been to a restaurant and placed your hand under the table only to feel gum stuck there? It probably left you with a less than stellar impression about the establishment. Are your patients having a similar experience in your waiting room? The high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, armrests, and counters should be clean and free of dust a debris. Think about the material of chairs and couches as well. They should be comfortable, and not slippery or hard to get out of.

There are a few touchpoints you can add that help your patients feel more comfortable about their hearing healthcare journey. Ear molds, 3D models of the ear, or sample hearing aids are tangible things to offer your patients.

Smell

Scent can have a major influence on the patient experience and motivation to make a purchase. It goes without saying that a bad smell can lead to consequences, but choosing the right good smell can actually be a strategic decision. Washington State University published a study that showed that simple scents were more likely to result in shoppers completing a purchase than complex scents. Scents evoke emotion, so decide what emotion you’d like your patients to feel. Leather conveys a luxury, high-end experience. Lavender, basil, citrus and cinnamon are all relaxing scents. Peppermint, thyme, and rosemary are energizing. Vanilla is the most universally accepted scent. Be cautious of the scents you use in cleaning products around the office. Some odorous products might be offensive to patients.

Taste

Taste may not be a necessity in your office, but it is a kind gesture to your patients and can elevate their experience with you. Bridal salons offer wine, banks offer candy, and a lot of clinics offer coffee, tea, water, and some sort of prepacked treat like cookies or chips. This is something to consider that might bring an extra bit of comfort to your patients.

Prioritize Accessibility and Communication

How accessible are you for your customers? Another integral aspect of establishing the office of tomorrow is your accessibility and communication with your patients. Take advantage of the multitude of opportunities you have to interact with patients in the modern era.

Patients today are interested in a variety of different communication methods, so consider what you are offering them. They may choose text over calls or emails, or they may want to call and speak to someone instead of messaging through a portal. Decide how you can be accommodating towards their preferred method of communication, and make sure patients know their options.

No matter what method of communication your patients are using, do what you can to ensure a smooth experience. If they email, limit response times. If they call afterhours and leave a message, make sure someone calls them back as soon as regular business hours resume.

Video communication is something to consider even before your patient visits your office. CQ Partners has a relationship with Vidscrip, allowing members to easily record and share information about what to expect during appointments, common questions, and certain medical conditions.

Other avenues to consider when reaching out to patients with a more informative approach include email marketing, newsletters, blogs, articles, and holiday cards.

From the signage outside, to your method of communication, your office is vital to your patients’ overall experience with your practice. An office that prioritizes accessibility, comfortability, and appeals to the senses will help patients trust you with their hearing healthcare and get more patients the care they need. CQ Partners is ready to help you establish the office of tomorrow and boost the patient experience, so reach out to us today!

 

About the Author

Indy Thomsen

Indy Thomsen is CQ's dedicated Customer Experience Manager, who breathes life into our commitment to ensuring the best experiences for both our customers and team members. With a robust tenure of over ten years in the hearing industry, Indy's expertise is multi-faceted. From serving as a PCC, HIS-Trainee, Aud Assistant, Systems Implementation Specialist, National Trainer, developing curriculum organization-wide, to trailblazing a virtual care department, Indy’s experience is diverse and brings unique perspective. With a bachelor's degree in Speech Language Pathology & Audiology, along with a Master's in Organization Development and Change Management, Indy is skilled in understanding customers' needs and driving effective change within any organization.