Patients value satisfaction so highly that hospitals are now taking the extra steps to measure their performance via the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, or HCAHPS. While hospitals have been using this data for years, we now have a national standard that connects payer reimbursement to these scores.
How can medical practices impact their patient satisfaction rates? Here’s how staff training can help your practice improve patient engagement and increase their satisfaction with your services.
Why Focus on Staff Training?
There are three primary reasons why your practice should use staff training as a way to improve staff performance and increase patient satisfaction:
- There is increasing competition for patients
- There is increasing scrutiny around customer service
- These trends impact your bottom-line revenue
If your practice lacks the training necessary to provide better service to your customers, the result can impact your patients and your employees. A practice with employees who lack the skills to manage patients and keep them satisfied may notice
- Dwindling employee confidence and engagement
- Declining patient satisfaction
- Less interested in your practice from new patients
- Declining patient retention rates
One 62,000-visit ER in a level 1 trauma center sought to measurably increase their patient satisfaction scores by improving their staff’s customer service. The training results were dramatic. After customer service training, they noticed:
- Improvements in 14 key quality metrics
- A decline in patient complaints by more than 70%
- An increase in patient compliments by more than 100%
The study concluded, “clinically focused customer service training improves patient satisfaction and ratings of physician and nurse skill.”
There are myriad benefits to training your staff that can help your practice exceed expectations when it comes to patient satisfaction. What are these benefits?
What Are the Benefits of Providing Staff Training in Your Medical Practice?
The benefits of training your staff include:
- Higher patient satisfaction
- Lowered costs for attracting new patients
- Higher patient retention rates
- Better patient engagement
- Increased online reviews and higher “star” ratings
- Easier to attract new patients to the practice
- Reduced staff frustration
- Improved staff morale
- Higher staff retention
- Easier to attract talent to your practice
- Better healthcare outcomes
- Improved employee performance
- Improved consistency of care delivery across the practice
- Better bonds between staff members
The notion of staff training is rooted in professional development, which is a job perk that nearly 90% of millennials look for when selecting a new job. Staff training offers an intentionality of purpose that can build collective vision and clarify the mission of an organization that devotes itself to professional improvements.
The benefits of training for your staff extend beyond patient care and also positively impact the employees themselves. Training staff requires an investment of time and money. It’s a way to invest in the employees themselves. This kind of investment goes beyond measurable patient satisfaction scores on the frontend and improves employee performance throughout your practice.
In most cases, we see one or two long-term employees holding the majority of practice knowledge. Staff training levels the playing field so that every member of your team is fully equipped to perform their job and do it well.
Staff training provides your employees with a skill set that helps them cope with the challenges of working in a healthcare setting. Staff training can provide the skills necessary to handle a frustrated patient in a way that can improve satisfaction scores.
Training your team can also improve coding and billing. Staff training can teach an employee how to ask for copays, for example. It can lessen the anxiety new employees feel when they doubt their ability to handle the work. Staff training levels the playing field across your practice by giving everyone the skills they need to reach your performance goals. It addresses any weaknesses right up front, creating a more uniformly positive experience for the patients you serve.
How Does Staff Training Increase Patient Satisfaction?
Staff training increases patient satisfaction by equipping your employees to provide patients with a more consistently positive experience when they visit your practice. You can accomplish this by encouraging your employees to invest in the success of your organization and then giving them skills they need to improve.
The reality of customer service in healthcare is that your employees are the backbone of the patient experience. Gallup says, “psychologically committed or engaged employees are the key to improving patient satisfaction and loyalty.” The national polling organization studied three years of hospital inpatient satisfaction data and found, “there is a significant correlation over time between overall employee engagement and overall patient satisfaction.” They identified five keys to employee engagement in healthcare facilities:
- Employees need the equipment and materials to do their job well
- Employees must have confidence in their work and feel that “I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day”
- Employees need to learn the mission of the organization
- Employees have to commit to doing high quality work
- Employees need to feel that they have opportunities to grow and learn
Staff training not only gives your workforce the tools they need to succeed at their job, it also invests them in the overall success of your organization. In turn, this will increase their productivity. At the tail end of these benefits lies your real goal: to improve patient satisfaction. Staff training in healthcare can do all of these things to help your business.
How Can Medical Practices Increase Their Patient Satisfaction?
Identifying areas for improvement is the first step to increasing your practice’s patient satisfaction. Also, don’t be afraid to ask staff and patients what they need to feel comfortable at your medical practice. These first two steps will give you a good sense of where your practice stands and where to start making improvements.
If you’re ready to take the next step to improve patient satisfaction, we’re here to guide you through the process. As healthcare marketing specialists, we have the tools and experience to help your medical practice train employees with patient satisfaction in mind. Reach out to our team today to learn more about our support services.