January 30, 2024 | 5-minute read

Unlock the Fundamentals to Improve Patient Access

Top ways you can improve patient access to attract new patients and stay ahead in the game

Knowing how to improve patient access is key for practices wanting to attract new patients and increase appointment bookings. 

Before putting a plan in action, make sure you’re implementing changes that truly make life easier – for your patients and your staff.

We’ve put together four fundamentals to help you increase patient acquisition and ensure a thriving practice while keeping everyone happy. 

#1 Offer user-friendly online scheduling to attract new patients and keep existing patients coming back.

Delight patients with the convenience they’ve come to expect. This helps increase appointment bookings while shifting the workload off busy staff.

Implementing the right online patient scheduling solution will help your practice reduce call volume and increase patient satisfaction. Allowing patients to self-serve can give you back 8-10 minutes for every call your staff doesn’t need to answer. We’ve worked with provider partners that see 40-60% of their appointments scheduled by patients and 20-30 new patients per provider per month on average.

To truly enhance patient access, make sure your patient self-scheduling page is easy to find, easy to use, and consistent with your brand.

You should look to provide digital interactions that are pleasing and friction-free. A clunky patient experience is the last thing that’s going to attract new patients. 

Make sure the self-scheduling page is easily navigable from the homepage of your website. White-labeled solutions let you adjust the appearance of your scheduling page with your brand style and colors to mirror the look-and-feel of your site. This streamlines things and helps your practice build and maintain brand equity. If you have provider groups under your umbrella that each need their own branding, look for options that allow multi-branding.

In addition, your patient scheduling page should be responsive so patients can access it from any device anywhere. Any functionality should work just as well on mobile as it does on a tablet or desktop browser. Make sure patients are able to filter through providers when booking an appointment. They should be able to search by options like: earliest available appointment, location, language spoken, insurance accepted, visit type, and specialty. Setting up advanced rules on the backend can help ensure the best patient-provider fit.

#2 Make it easy for patients to access your practice by sharing wait times and location information.

Keeping patients informed prevents frustration and helps your team optimize patient flow and staff efficiently.

Getting to your clinic shouldn’t be a puzzle! Providing the best patient access means patients can choose the clinic, appointment time, and location that best fits their needs. All with minimal tasks for your team on the backend. 

For urgent care clinics, primary care providers, or practices that offer walk-in appointments, you should display live wait times on your website. Practices that provide wait time information can increase patient acquisition and retention – and stop their patients from becoming the 1 in 5 patients who decide to switch providers due to long wait times! (according to the 9th Annual Vitals Wait Time Report).

Providers with multiple clinics should set up geo-location so patients can view all locations at once, from closest to further away based on their current location.  Utilize geo-location independently or customize displays with survey results and average wait times by clinic. Allow all information to be accessible from various devices, including mobile, tablet, computer, or app.

Communicating inaccurate wait times can damage patient satisfaction just as much as displaying no wait times at all. Make sure your scheduling software can be programmed to intelligently adjust wait times based on how many patients have arrived in the clinic and in the event your staff is starting to fall behind.

#3 Let patients know you’re listening and take their feedback to heart to make changes that boost satisfaction and clinic efficiency.

Sending a survey on the first visit signals to patients that their voice matters and sets the tone for the patient-provider relationship. Surveys offer insight into what’s working well and where you can make adjustments to increase satisfaction and attract new patients.

Implementing user-friendly patient surveys is an easy way to gain patient feedback and learn how your patients truly feel about your organization. Patients feel engaged and get the chance to share information they might not otherwise be comfortable sharing.

Asking the right questions can help you identify factors that could be negatively impacting your patient experience, hindering your ability to attract new patients. Ideally, you should make sure surveys can be fully customized to capture the exact data and insights you’re looking for. This will help your practice narrow in on areas you’re doing well and problem areas that could be impacting your ability to increase patient acquisition.

In the patient survey game, convenience and accessibility are key! Improve access by sending patient surveys via text, which prevents patients from having to remember a login or download a new app. Finally get the answers you need by drilling down in the data to review ratings by department and/or provider. 

#4 Prevent burnout and empower staff with simple workflows and easy-to-use scheduling tools.

User-friendly experiences aren't only for patients. Plus, your ability to enhance patient access will depend on staff actually wanting to use the tools you adopt.

Staff adoption and usage are key factors impacting your ability to improve patient access. Be sure to implement a scheduling software that can streamline workflows and simplify your team’s workday. It should be both easy to use and minimize the clicks required to complete tasks. 

Whether you use athenahealth, eClinicalWorks, Cerner, Epic or any other EMR or EHR software, the most effective healthcare scheduling software should integrate seamlessly and be configurable for your practice needs. This makes things things easier for staff because you can easily incorporate existing EHR scheduling templates into your scheduling system. 

On top of that, configuration can enable you to set your own unique scheduling rules for appointments, providers, and departments. Instead of spending hours training and onboarding staff on scheduling rules, you should configure your scheduling solution with advanced rules to ensure providers are scheduled with the correct patients. Automated rules speed up the scheduling process and take pressure off your team to memorize complicated rules and fill in provider schedules correctly.

Ease of use, seamless integration, and configurability will all help ensure your staff actually want to adopt and utilize your scheduling solution – ultimately helping you improve access to increase patient acquisition.

We're here 4u! Qure4u has a team of experts ready to help you enhance patient access to attract new patients

Patients deserve direct access to their providers without having a go-between. By understanding how to improve patient access, you’ll not only attract new patients, you’ll free up valuable staff time. A well-executed approach can yield at least a 40% increase in self-scheduled appointments, and you should expect to see that number continue to go up.

At Qure4u, with two decades of experience, we’ve perfected patient management software and engagement tools. Our robust scheduling software transforms phone calls into digital calendars, seamlessly filled by patients. Connect with us to help you improve the overall patient and staff experience with streamlined workflows that improve patient access to increase appointment bookings and attract new patients.

Get on the path to becoming a top-notch care center …

If you’re uncertain about making changes or are unsure where to get started, completing the SCORE4U assessment can help you evaluate your organization’s readiness and pinpoint your best opportunities to increase patient acquisition and efficiency. You’ll get an overall digital health score + scores for 9 essential components that have been shown to be essential for practices wanting to drive high adoption, efficiencies, and better outcomes using digital patient engagement tools.

Uncover your practice's digital health score by taking our SCORE4U assessment.

Prefer diving into numbers? Take our ROI4U assessment to calculate the savings your organization can achieve by implementing digital solutions to automate and optimize workflows.

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