Crucial Aspects of the Patient Journey QLess is Helping Healthcare Organizations Transform
How You Can Improve The Patient Journey
Healthcare providers worldwide constantly seek new ways to innovate and improve the patient journey. The healthcare sector is intensely competitive, and patients have their pick from thousands of different options. While the most important component of healthcare is ensuring patient safety and quality of care, what your customers feel and experience in your office will greatly impact business results.
According to Silverline, 82% of patients said that quality customer service is the most important factor they consider when choosing a healthcare provider.
Customer service is a pillar of the patient experience, and this is what your patients consider the most important part of their healthcare journey. Consumers have high expectations from the enterprises they give their business to. They don’t just expect healthcare organizations to help fix their ailments; they anticipate that they will provide a seamless, efficient, and customer-friendly experience.
Despite these high expectations, healthcare offices aren’t typically considered shining customer experience examples. Typically, they have crowded waiting rooms, a drawn-out waiting process, and difficulties with appointment scheduling and communication. In an age where customer service is the defining thing consumers seek out, this is not something healthcare organizations should be comfortable accepting.
To help elevate the patient experience, many healthcare organizations around the world are implementing patient journey management software. These are solutions designed to help combat some of the issues endemic to the healthcare experience, like long waits and a lack of communication. When it comes to patient journey solutions, QLess is the name to know.
QLess is software that offers several key features designed to help enterprises improve multiple aspects of their end-to-end patient journey. The different features on the QLess platform are specifically designed for healthcare organizations and can assist organizations hoping to deliver efficient, seamless service. Below, we’ll look at some aspects of the patient journey QLess can help healthcare offices with and explore how the software improves these areas.
The Appointment Scheduling Process
The first step in the patient journey is scheduling an appointment. This is how customers book their time at healthcare facilities, which is a key element in the overall experience. Customers will want this aspect of their patient journey to be fast, efficient, and straightforward, with the ability to schedule and manage their appointments on their own time. When it comes to appointment scheduling, healthcare professionals will find that the best way to improve this aspect of the journey is by making it highly digital and accessible around the clock.
There are still many healthcare offices around the world that require customers to call in to schedule their appointments. This limits appointment scheduling to something that can only happen during business hours and will likely cause significant customer frustration.
According to WiFi Spark, citing data from Accenture, 68% of patients say that they prefer medical providers that allow for online editing of appointments.
QLess provides appointment scheduling features designed to allow customers the flexibility in scheduling that many seek. With a desktop website or mobile app, customers can easily schedule appointments with care providers 24/7. The process is simple. They visit the website or application, browse the available appointment slots and types, and select the one they want to attend. They can then edit these appointments or cancel them directly through the software. This limits the amount that customers need to interact to get or cancel their appointments.
The appointment scheduling features of QLess also help staff manage their appointment calendars, which will help streamline the patient journey. When customers schedule their appointments, it is added to a smart calendar, and staff can view and edit that calendar. This heightens their ability to oversee and manage the appointment schedule, resulting in a smoother, more efficient experience for patients.
Easy appointment scheduling is something many customers emphasize, and the ability to book and edit appointments with a few taps of a customer’s mobile device will help healthcare offices stand out. Offering improved convenience in the earliest phase of the customer journey is an impactful way for care providers to separate themselves. Ease of access is something that is top of mind for many consumers. According to the 2021 CVS Health Care Insights study, 89% of customers listed ease of access as one of their most important healthcare priorities. Improved appointment scheduling helps ensure customers can access healthcare resources without any added bottlenecks.
Communicating with Staff
Customer service in the healthcare industry is a significant determiner of satisfaction. But one of the blind spots that many providers have in the care journey is providing customers with the level of communication they are hoping for. Communication is one of the essential elements of offering excellent care for patients, but 42% of customers say they face barriers to communication with their care providers, stating that it takes a lot of effort to connect with them.
People crave communication in their patient journey. Visiting a healthcare office can be stressful and nerve-wracking, as patients worry over their ailments and conditions. Healthcare organizations must put in the time and energy to properly engage with their customers. They also must offer them the communication they deserve throughout the appointment process. Organizations will find that not only does this benefit their customers but also them.
Customers value the ability to communicate with medical facilities, particularly when it comes to mobile communication.
According to a QLess survey of 250 U.S. men and women over 45, 55% of respondents said they prefer to receive communications or appointment reminders from their provider via text message.
Yet many healthcare offices don’t have a strong communication infrastructure in place, and only offer phone call or email communications. The QLess communication features can change that.
QLess includes bi-directional communication features that will enable healthcare organizations to scale their communication abilities. With these features, enterprises can message customers and have the message sent to their phones. Customers can respond back, asking questions or offering updates to their care providers. Healthcare offices can send automated messages to a large group or a custom message to an individual. This feature enhances patient engagement in the pre-or post-appointment process. It is also a way to remind customers of upcoming appointments.
Missed appointments are a huge problem in the healthcare industry, costing the industry $150 billion annually as staff blocks off time and resources for customers that never arrive. Appointment reminders are a highly impactful way to ensure customers attend their scheduled appointments.
More than 50% of customers expect providers to send automated appointment reminders before their appointments, contributing to better appointment attendance. With QLess, offices have communication features that allow them to schedule automated text appointment reminders before the appointment, ensuring customers remember the healthcare appointments they’ve booked.
Communication is a key part of customer service, and customer service defines the patient journey. With QLess, healthcare organizations have the tools necessary to maintain communication with their entire appointment calendar of customers, ensuring a more transparent and open experience.
Waiting to Receive the Service
When looking back on your worst customer experiences, what comes to mind? For many people, it is long waits. Few things are more agitating for a customer than standing or sitting in a long line. This is doubly true in the healthcare industry, where these waits are compounded by the risk of sitting next to someone with a transmissible illness like COVID.
In the previously mentioned QLess survey, 59.4% of respondents said they associate congested waiting rooms with unsafe conditions.
Naturally, this has led to long waits in health care being a sore spot for consumers. According to PatientPop, 84% of healthcare customers said wait times were either somewhat important or very important to the patient experience, and 43% said wait times were the most frustrating aspect of the healthcare appointment process. Even with appointments, customers will often find themselves waiting extended periods for service. This is something that many consumers are disheartened by.
There are many reasons for long waits in the healthcare industry, and it won’t be possible to fix them all. However, one of the things organizations can do is improve the waiting experience. QLess offers software that enables organizations to turn waits into positive experiences by removing the waiting room from the equation.
With the QLess patient queue software, customers are empowered to wait from wherever they want.
The queue management software allows customers to remotely check-in for their appointments through their phone or on a desktop website. If they have an appointment scheduled, customers can check into the line, monitor the wait time, receive updates through text messages, and then arrive at the healthcare office when their appointment is set to begin. Rather than sitting in a congested waiting area, patients are free to wait from wherever they choose. The negative emotions tied to waiting are largely attached to feelings of uncertainty and being trapped. This software helps remove those feelings.
Not only does QLess change how customers wait, but it also cuts into wait times. QLess’s calendar management solutions improve workflow visibility for staff, so they can be better prepared for each appointment. With the patient queue management system, enterprises can move customers in and out of lines and blend walk-ins with appointments. They can configure the line according to their policies. So, if a customer is late by a certain amount of time, their appointment can be canceled, and so on.
These features are a big reason that QLess has been found to improve operational efficiencies by up to 90%, helping organizations cut down on extended wait times and improve the patient journey.
Patient Engagement Following the Appointment
In modern healthcare, the patient engagement process doesn’t end when the appointment does. One of the critical issues that many healthcare offices make is assuming that their work is done when customers leave. The patient journey is an ongoing process. It’s important to ensure your customers feel like their voices matter even after they’ve received positive health outcomes. The more you connect with your patients, the more likely they will continue their relationship with your office.
One of the ways to positively impact the patient journey post-appointment is by asking your customers about their experience. People are extremely willing to share their shopping or appointment experiences with others. This includes the healthcare organization that served them.
According to Notify Visitors, 85% of customers are willing to give feedback when a business experience went well, and 81% are willing to share their feedback if an experience went bad.
Your patients want to share their opinions; it is just on the healthcare organization to hear them out.
With the QLess software, healthcare offices can solicit and store patient feedback to better understand what customers think about their experience. The QLess customer feedback solution sends a customized pulse survey to customers via SMS when they leave the office. Healthcare organizations can choose the questions they want to ask and the format of the survey, and responses are stored. They can ask about how customers were treated by hospital staff, what they didn’t like about the experience, and what they would want to change. The organization can store and review that information to glean valuable insights into its performance.
Learning more about what patients think about their experience will allow enterprises to modify the patient journey to better fit the wants and needs of their customers. If there are many responses to the surveys that state the waiting room is uncomfortable, that the appointment scheduling was difficult, or that the appointment process wasn’t communicative enough, these can become action points that organizations make an effort to fix. Knowing what customers want is a necessary step toward providing that for them.
On the flip side of things, this shows customers that organizations care. It adds to the patient engagement journey, as it offers follow-up communication with customers. Rather than the entire journey ending the second patients leave the office, soliciting feedback will further the relationship. It will also show patients that organizations are invested in their opinions.
The Digital Healthcare Experience
One of the most consequential additions to the patient journey in recent years is the pivot toward virtual healthcare. While there are constraints to virtual healthcare, it has become increasingly popular for appointments that don’t necessitate face-to-face contact. The popularity of virtual healthcare has been dramatically expedited by the pandemic. According to data from McKinsey, telehealth usage has increased 38x from the pre-pandemic baseline. When face-to-face meetings were impossible due to the pandemic, telehealth was the solution. The convenience of this solution has led to it becoming a staple of the industry.
There are a lot of reasons that customers like virtual health appointments. For starters, the risk of patients getting health conditions from waiting in a congested area with other sick customers is greatly reduced. But according to Deloitte, the biggest reason many customers prefer telehealth solutions is that it makes it easier to attend appointments. The modern customer is all about convenience and ease of access. Telehealth makes accessing healthcare resources as easy as possible.
Many healthcare organizations have begun to implement virtual and telehealth appointments.
75% of US hospitals are using telehealth and telemedicine now, which is a 42% increase from 2019.
Telehealth is a full-scale revolution in the healthcare industry. But, few enterprises have taken the necessary steps to harness its power.
With the QLess virtual services software, health care providers can take their virtual offerings to a new level. Integrating with modern virtual meeting software like Microsoft Teams and Zoom, QLess allows enterprises to manage an entire schedule of virtual health appointments. Customers can select a virtual meeting when scheduling their appointments, check into the lineup, and be entered into a virtual queue. They’ll receive real-time updates about their status in the queue. Then, they receive a link for a virtual conference when it is time for their appointment. Essentially, the QLess software manages every aspect of the virtual appointment process.
Patient-centered care is built on accommodating the needs and preferences of modern consumers. It’s undeniable that telehealth is now a key part of the healthcare experience. According to McKinsey, 55% of patients are much more satisfied with telehealth compared to in-person care. While this doesn’t mean the need for in-person healthcare is diminished, it does mean that savvy enterprises should be focusing on their virtual healthcare.
With QLess, enterprises have a tool for managing a growing virtual appointment calendar. It is easy for administrative staff and doctors to use and also simplifies the process for customers. Virtual appointments are now a crucial part of the patient journey. QLess helps enterprises create efficient processes for this rapidly growing healthcare sector.
Making Data-Driven Decisions to Improve the Patient Journey
In every industry, the importance of data in shaping decision-making can’t be overstated. The more organized data an enterprise has, the better understanding they have of their operations. This holds true with the patient journey. Collecting customer data on the in-office experience has long been difficult. Software solutions like QLess are improving upon data collection for healthcare offices. And armed with the right data, a patient care organization can tweak their processes to give customers the experience they deserve.
There are a lot of advantages to leveraging data in the patient experience. For starters, healthcare organizations can identify bottlenecks in their processes that might have negatively impacted the patient journey.
With QLess’ business intelligence features, offices gain access to important information, including:
- Median wait time
- Transaction time
- Appointment no-show percentage
- And much more
This information can then be broken down according to different factors like time, day of the week, the employee handling the appointment, and more. It is reported on a dashboard that includes graphs and charts to make the information more digestible.
Healthcare offices can spot outliers and aberrations in the typical patient journey with this data. If certain days of the week have higher median wait times or certain appointment types have a significant appointment no-show percentage, organizations can identify where their problems lie. This is the first step to fixing those problems. The data from QLess shows the issue and can also help offices quantify whether their solution to the problem is working. Keeping track of changes over time in the data will help administrators see if their solutions are having the impact on the patient journey that they had hoped.
The more data organizations use, the more efficient their health systems will be. Data can help every aspect of decision-making for enterprises. With QLess, collecting data on the patient journey is now possible. Data-driven organizations have an easier time acquiring and retaining customers and are significantly more likely to be profitable. The more enterprises understand what patients are experiencing at your healthcare office, the better they can tweak their patient journey processes to be more customer-friendly and efficient.
QLess is Transforming the Patient Journey
A smooth, positive patient journey is a key to success for healthcare organizations worldwide. While providing effective patient care is the most important part of the job, enterprises mustn’t overlook the value and importance of customer satisfaction. In the healthcare industry, long average waits, difficulty with appointment scheduling, and a lack of communication are common customer complaints that are serious roadblocks to a smooth and efficient patient journey. With the QLess patient journey management software, healthcare organizations can take a meaningful step toward improving their patient experience.
The QLess software has many key features that enable organizations to digitally manage and augment several aspects of their patient journey. Patient appointment software makes appointments more accessible and easier to manage for customers. With a patient queue management system, waiting times are reduced and made pain-free. QLess also provides business intelligence, communication, customer feedback, and virtual service features. All of this gives enterprises tools to better manage their patient experience.
There is much room for improvement in the average healthcare business’s patient experience. But taking the necessary steps to make these improvements will lead to better business results.