Luxurious, Cost-Effective Patient Experience Trends to Embrace Now

Everyone likes to feel like a VIP. Exclusive perks, luxury accommodations, attentive treatment—what healthcare group wouldn’t like to be able to offer those things to their patients? What if you could deliver a better, more luxurious patient experience without practice disruptions or a substantial price tag?

Experts have been discussing the importance of patient experience for years now. Back in 2016, The New York Times advised hospitals & health systems to consider taking a page or two from the hospitality industry by providing a more luxurious patient experience for their patients to outshine the competition.

Although many of those initiatives have been put on hold due to the pressures brought on by the pandemic, patient experience is again emerging as concern for providers. As former Harvard Business Review editor Theodore Levitt once said, “Products are consumed. Services are experienced.” This adage has never been truer than now in the digital age where streamlined, digitally enhanced consumer experiences are now the norm. It’s time for the healthcare industry to get on board.

Of course, the total VIP package requires a hefty budget with some hefty charges attached. In this economic climate, providers need a way to deliver a better patient experience without necessarily making major investments or huge adjustments to their workflows. If you are a specialty provider with many elective procedures, patient experience is uniquely important. Patients tend to switch providers if the one they are seeing does not meet their expectations. This is especially true as the rise of telemedicine expands provider options in some specialties.

Many healthcare providers may feel they do not have the bandwidth to deliver a more luxurious patient experience, but there are simple, low-cost hacks any provider can offer to patients almost immediately by borrowing from other industries.

Allow patients to skip the line

Nothing feels quite as VIP as the ability to breeze through a line. From Disney Fast Passes to programs like TSA PreCheck and Clear, consumers are usually willing to shell out additional money to get that special skip-the-line feeling. Believe it or not, there are entire branches of psychological research dedicated to studying how lines make people feel and why. The bottom line? People find lines demoralizing and awful. Simply by offering a digital intake & check-in experience through the right patient engagement platform, practices can “raise the velvet rope” for patients even as they arrive at their appointments. Talk about a fantastic first impression!

Deliver timely and meaningful communication

No one ever feels like a VIP if they feel lost or unsure of what is going on. Luxury hotels offer concierge service to help travelers find their way around town, and high-end clubs have well-dressed security personnel ready to anticipate questions and point the way. While healthcare providers may not be able to offer these same perks, it is possible to offer the same feeling that your staff is anticipating patient needs and is accessible for questions without patients calling the practice and sitting on hold (that waiting thing again!).

While some EHR systems offer ways to message your staff, these options often require logging into a system and waiting for hours, if not days, for a reply. While that might be unavoidable for clinical questions, what if your patient has a quick, non-clinical concern that needs addressing? In situations like those, patients appreciate a quick and easy way to contact your staff and receive a response. Options like two-way patient texting also allow you to proactively reach out to patients and offer communication on things like parking, traffic, or changes to office policies, to name a few.

Offer retail-like payment experiences

Retailers learned long ago that people prefer simplified payment options. With the rise of touch-free payment methods like Apple Pay and Google Pay, offering only old-fashioned payment methods just is not cutting it anymore. As reported by Payments Dive, a 2022 Visa Outlook Survey revealed, “41% of consumers have abandoned a purchase because digital payment options weren’t available; this was even more common among younger consumers.”

It’s time to future-proof your practice by allowing patients to easily pay in multiple ways such as before their appointments via mobile check-in, at time of service, and even automatically post-appointment when they opt to keep payment information on file. Allowing for automatic payment of small residual balances also eliminates large surprise bills because small balances get paid right away instead of piling up. Allowing patients to pay in the manner that best suits them is a win-win: your organization receives payment more quickly, and the convenience builds patient trust.

Show patients their time is important to you

Part of the VIP treatment is anticipating needs and proactively meeting them, thereby sparing your patients from wasting time and effort. Think of what patients used to be asked to do for an appointment. First, they would call and be placed on hold as they waited to even make the appointment to begin with. Then, they were asked to arrive 10-15 minutes early to fill out any paperwork. Upon arrival, patients would be handed a clipboard and asked to fill out forms by hand. Often, patients would endure long wait times in the waiting room, or even worse, in an exam room, perhaps even in a paper gown. This kind of treatment leaves patients feeling more like cattle than a valued consumer of medical services.

You can show patients you value their business and their time by providing features such as online appointment scheduling, mobile check-in with digital forms, and of course doing your best to stay on schedule to prevent those dreaded wait times.

With Health iPASS, your healthcare organization can offer a more luxurious patient experience while reducing staff burden and staying well within your budget. We offer an end-to-end solution that simplifies every step of the patient journey from making their appointment to final payment of residual balances. To find out more, visit our website to schedule a demo!

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