2024 Patient Experience Trends You Should Watch Out For

Jan 17, 2024 | Blog, Front Desk, Healthcare

A 2022 Forbes article revealed something riveting about the U.S. healthcare system: 60% of patients had entirely negative care experiences that year.

As the new year rolls in, a new set of challenges, standards, and expectations puts increased pressure on medical practices to keep up. Among these expectations is a positive patient experience, and if that 60% indicates anything, it’s that the patient experience is proving to be a significant burden.

But don’t worry — we can help you get ahead this year.

Here are 2024 patient experience trends you should watch out for:

5 Patient Experience Trends You Need To Know

Going Digital, But Staying Human

Are you pulling the trigger on using kiosks over human receptionists? You should reconsider.

Research Nester reported that the patient self-service kiosk market will reach $5.8 billion in 2035. This is due to the growing number of medical practices adopting more advanced healthcare facilities to streamline operations. With the front desk becoming progressively more challenging to staff, it’s understandable why clinics are turning to automated technologies to drive the check-in process.

However, automated kiosks have minimal capabilities compared to human receptionists. Kiosks can’t see people eye to eye in accommodating complex requests and interacting with them with warmth and empathy. Physicians have to step in when patients are unhappy with the kiosks, causing check-in bottlenecks.

The solution: live-streaming virtual receptionists on touchscreen kiosks. This staffing model utilizes kiosk technology while retaining the human touch and ensuring a consistent patient experience.

Live virtual receptionists are slowly gaining popularity as a front desk solution that delivers the best of both kiosks and human receptionists. They save costs, enable business growth, and empower providers to focus on providing quality patient care, making them a very appealing solution for practices that want to achieve sustainable long-term growth.

READ: How A Sports Medicine Physical Therapy Practice Grew 33% Without Increasing Front Desk Headcount

Bridging Communication Gaps

Communicating well with your patients is more than just for show.

A 2021 study on patient-provider communication found that effective communication results in up to 63% higher patient activation. It also decreases emergency services usage by 71% and length of stay by 31%.

Physicians are critical in activating patients by clearly conveying information and instructions about treating their health issues. Of course, it’s not just up to them to activate your patient. Your other staff, too, can contribute to improving patient activation by being open to questions, encouraging your patients to ask questions, and answering them clearly and informatively.

A holistically positive communication culture in your practice leaves a lasting good impression on your patients that the advice they get is valuable and trustworthy. Poor communication is one of the most common reasons why patients drop out of a clinic. This means that clear communication is non-negotiable when aiming for clinical success.

For your practice to stay ahead of the curve, integrate effective patient communication into your healthcare staff training.

Patient Engagement Is Patient Success

You may provide the best quality care and treatment for your patients, but it’s still up to them for it to truly succeed.

Neglecting, forgetting, or misunderstanding care recommendations can greatly increase health risks in more than 40% of patients, according to a 2022 meta-study on patient engagement. Despite this, your patients may think your healthcare services are ineffective and look elsewhere for treatment.

Hence, your staff must be primed to convey the importance of the care recommendations that your patients receive. They must help their patients understand that the treatment can only succeed if they cooperate with their physicians’ advice.

Besides keeping a clear line of communication, giving pamphlets and other informative materials can engage your patients. Emphasize the importance of following their physicians’ recommendations to improve their health.

Bringing The Front Desk To The Forefront Of Healthcare

The front desk in healthcare has been taking the backseat, even though they play a prominent role in driving success to your practice.

86% of patients agree that customer service plays a significant role in the healthcare experience, according to a 2018 report by Doctor.com.

While your patients engage with your clinic through its healthcare services, customer service plays a big part in making them stay.

This is why the front desk is crucial to your healthcare practice. Receptionists play a key role in achieving patient satisfaction by facilitating a positive atmosphere that encourages them to return to your clinic. They also take on administrative burdens like taking phone calls and scheduling appointments.

When strategizing your practice’s growth this 2024, never count out your front desk staff’s part in its success.

Patience With The Patients

Healthcare has evolved throughout the years, but your patients may be overestimating its progress.

A 2023 PatientEngagementHIT article revealed that 51% of physicians said patients had unreasonable expectations in the past 12 months. While 95% of patients said they trusted their providers, about two-thirds felt that their recent appointments were subpar.

Managing patient expectations is crucial to ensuring that your patients temper their expectations of how their treatment will pan out. It may be challenging to deal with some unreasonable expectations of how fast or effective they want their treatment plan to be. Fortunately, dealing with these types of expectations is possible through cautious conversation.

Ask them about what they’re expecting from their treatment. Carefully go through every expectation, explain the reality behind each one, and give a clear, concise description of what they should expect. Gather as much patient information as you can so that you can provide an effective treatment plan that satisfies them.

Over time, patients may continue to have more unrealistic expectations and be steadfast about them. That’s why, from 2024 onwards, you must be patient with your patients.

Launch 2024 With Patient Experience Success

Patient experience standards will continuously increase over the years, so team-building and training strategies will go a long way to ensure your practice is ready for the challenge. As long as you build a robust workflow and communication workflow for your team, you’ll be set to take on the hurdles of providing quality health care in 2024.

Start your patient experience success off with a bang by integrating technology into your front office processes that retain the human touch. Discover the power of live-streaming virtual receptionists in streamlining the patient intake process, reducing costs, and improving front desk coverage through WelcomeWare’s virtual receptionist services.

Elevate your patient experience in 2024

Increase your bottom line, reduce costs, and achieve patient satisfaction with WelcomeWare

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