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What is patient experience? Ultimate 2023 guide


The Team at CallMiner

July 25, 2023

Healthcare Patient Experience Surveys Image
Healthcare Patient Experience Surveys Image

Patient experience is a critical part of healthcare that providers should pay attention to. This information can help providers learn how a patient feels about their overall experience in their care, from how comfortable they feel in the office to how uncomplicated the provider’s billing process is.

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In this blog, we'll cover:

  • What is patient experience?
  • Patient experience vs. patient satisfaction
  • Benefits of understanding the patient experience
  • 3 ways to improve the patient experience
  • Leveraging conversation intelligence to improve the patient experience
  • Frequently asked questions

What is patient experience?

Patient experience is a term used in the healthcare industry to evaluate how patients feel about their overall care. Several factors go into assessing patient experience in healthcare, including:

  • Staff interactions
  • Office comfort
  • Insurance and billing
  • Quality of care
  • Pain management
  • Aftercare
  • Checking in and managing appointments

Healthcare providers use this information to identify areas of improvement in patient care, from renovating offices to increase comfort and reduce stress to transforming patient billing systems to make payment processing smoother for patients.

Patient experience vs. patient satisfaction

Patient experience differs from patient satisfaction, although they go hand in hand to help providers understand how well they’re meeting patient needs.

However, patient satisfaction does not paint as broad of a picture as patient experience. Patient satisfaction explains a patient’s overall feelings about their care, while patient experience considers multiple elements of the patient’s journey.

Benefits of understanding the patient experience

Providers who focus on improving patient experience can expect several benefits, including:

  • Improved patient satisfaction: Targeting and addressing patient needs can increase overall patient satisfaction with healthcare providers.
  • Reduced risk: When healthcare experiences are fine-tuned to each patient, providers reduce risks associated with low-quality care and record-keeping.
  • Lower costs: Patients who are happy with their providers will likely want to stay with those providers long-term, essentially reducing patient turnover costs for providers.

3 ways to improve the patient experience

Healthcare providers can use several strategies to improve the patient experience. Here are four of the primary focuses healthcare systems should hone in on:

Customize patient care

No two patients are alike, nor should any patient be treated exactly the same as another patient. Every patient that arrives in a provider’s office cares about their health and medical needs, as they should. Therefore, it’s a provider’s responsibility to customize their treatment methods and plans for each patient, giving them precise care that aligns with their needs rather than using one-size-fits-all solutions.

That also means meeting patients where they are with the healthcare delivery methods they prefer. Offering video consults, online accounts for patients to oversee their records and appointments, and email or text systems for quick provider-patient communication are excellent ways to bridge gaps in the patient experience.

Improve healthcare call center processes

Patients want their medical questions answered quickly and transparently, whether they have a billing question or want to know more about a prescribed medication. Although seemingly minor, a provider’s phone system is one of the most crucial pieces of overall patient care and plays a leading role in patient experience.

Using the latest call center technology, like sentiment analysis and conversational intelligence, can provide deep insight into what patients care about, allowing healthcare providers to zero in on those needs with every interaction and process.

Build lasting relationships

The more information healthcare providers learn about their patients, the better they can continue to serve them. Providers should work to build strong, lasting relationships with patients to help patients feel more confident in the providers handling their medical care.

Following up after and between appointments, sending regular patient satisfaction surveys, offering loyalty and referral programs, and thoroughly addressing their concerns can promote strong patient-provider relationships.

Leveraging conversation intelligence to improve the patient experience

With evolving technology, healthcare providers have more opportunities than ever to improve the patient experience. CallMiner helps call centers in the healthcare industry, like health insurance call centers and medical call centers, communicate more efficiently with patients in the ways patients expect them to.

CallMiner does this through patient-focused conversation intelligence. This technology allows call centers to analyze and transcribe calls to use for categorizing, coaching, patient history, risk management, and more. As a result, providers can use call center data to continue to improve their patient service and processes to improve the patient experience.

Frequently asked questions

Patient experience and patient satisfaction work together but differ in what they entail:

  • Patient satisfaction refers to the overall sentiment a patient has toward their provider and care.
  • Patient experience is a measure of the entire experience a provider offers a patient, including the patient’s record-keeping, billing, comfort during appointments, and aftercare.

To better understand patient experience, let’s use an example. Say Anna is a patient under Dr. Mowery’s care. Dr. Mowery offers an online portal for Anna to make appointments, check her health information, and pay her bills electronically.

During her appointments, Dr. Mowery listens to Anna’s needs, asks if she’d like anything to make her more comfortable, and addresses each question thoroughly. Dr. Mowery follows up with Anna within one week after each appointment to check on her and has her billing staff call Anna to see if she has any questions about her insurance, copayments, or bills. Dr. Mowery’s office has created a positive patient experience that’s likely to keep Anna returning as a patient.

Technology has come a long way in healthcare. Modern providers use technology to improve the patient experience by:

  • Providing digital portals for patients to access their medical and billing records
  • Storing medical records online for quicker, easier access
  • Providing emailed follow-up surveys to patients
  • Communicating quickly with a patient’s family
  • Analyzing patient sentiment during phone calls
  • Offering virtual visits to patients

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