How independent primary care physicians can improve patient satisfaction in 2018

Healthcare costs are one of the main concerns of patients in 2018. Health insurance premium costs are rising as are the costs incurred by patients for procedures and prescriptions outside of that covered by insurance. It would make sense, then, that patient satisfaction in the primary care physician’s office could, in large part, be improved with billing procedures that are more patient-friendly. Waiting times are also of concern to patients, so scheduling improvements are another effective way to improve patient satisfaction in 2018.

A survey conducted by HIMSS Analytics, the Patient Payment Check-Up found that “48 percent of patients find providers’ bill paying options inconvenient. However, survey respondents were also clear on what they do like: 52 percent of patients prefer electronic billing” rather than receiving paper bills in the mail.

Ensuring that patients clearly understand what is expected of them, including how much they will owe and when their payment is due, will also increase the patient’s level of satisfaction with the overall billing process. The survey found that providing upfront estimates will “help patients know how much they owe, enabling them to make informed care decisions and initiate a conversation with the practice about how to pay.”

A separate survey conducted nationally of 5,031 patients found that these patients’ main concerns were healthcare costs and wait times. In addition to billing issues, the primary care physician’s patients are also concerned about the time they have to wait to schedule an appointment and the amount of time they spend in the physician’s office waiting to see a medical professional.

Communication with patients throughout the process, from appointment scheduling to the patient visit to the billing process, can significantly improve patient satisfaction for the primary care physician in 2018. The use of technology, including the tools found in electronic health records, is preferred by most patients who no longer want to deal with paper bills or appointment forms.