Today's consumers, and particularly Millennials, choose doctors, hospitals and clinics based on a combination of experience and earned trust. Healthcare communications and operational strategies that deliver quality patient experiences have the ability to enhance patient preference, boost loyalty and encourage referrals. We've listed three strategies that have worked for our clients:
ACT with Transparency and Comfort
Communicate clearly and pervasively about patient experience and "what comes next" to reduce worry and enhance the healing process.
Early in childhood, we learn that doctors and hospitals involve pain, discomfort and fear of the unknown. That fear can shift to trust by helping patients understand exactly what to expect at every turn-beginning well before they walk in the door and continuing until they pay the bill. Adding creature comforts helps, too, but it's providing empathy and clear expectations that really reduce patient worry. The measurable results of an informed patient experience are lower anxiety, faster healing and a dose of happy, loyal patients. You may even raise your HCAP scores in the process.
A critical misstep made by many organizations is a lack of brand expression in staff behavior.
When family members see a messy public restroom or interact with disinterested staff, they assume medical outcomes will be similar. Attitudes and brand voice must permeate every patient experience, not just formal marketing outlets. Your promised commitment must show consistently in every touch, every statement, every action and every inch of your facility. If authenticity is lacking in any way, patient experience and trust will suffer.
CAPTIVATE with Engaging Patient Stories
Encouraging patients to share their compelling stories can be the most impactful tool in your trust arsenal.
Advanced certifications and technologies do not stack up against great referrals, and they certainly will not eclipse bad ones. People don't trust institutions, but they do trust what they hear in the community, including authentic, life-changing stories-ones that you can leverage consistently via your healthcare communications vehicles. Storytelling about compelling patient experiences will connect emotionally with your key audiences. If they embrace your patients, they will begin to embrace you as well.
These ideas are not new. And, while simple in concept, they can be a critical force to bind relationships with people who seek quality care and comforting patient experiences from trusted healthcare providers. How do your healthcare communications programs act, brand and captivate to build positive patient experiences that also build trust?