Private practice from the front line

Private practice from the front line

Keep your seat belt on – it’s not over yet!

It’s been a rollercoaster ride in private practice for over six months now, and the peaks and troughs are surely set to continue, says Jane Braithwaite in her fifth article for IPT.

THE WORLD of private practice is ever-evolving and this year has been more transforming than ever before. It’s best described as a rollercoaster ride with more fear than thrills. I am sure many of my colleagues in private healthcare might use slightly stronger language to describe the challenges that we have all faced. From the perspective of the patient, the impact of Covid has been enormously significant in their ability to utilise the services we offer and many potential patients will be suffering in silence, too anxious to go out into the world to address the symptoms they are experiencing. Only time will reveal the true extent of this. Many patients who were receiving, or due to receive, treatment in the early part of 2020 have suffered delays in treatment and this is going to be an ongoing problem for some time Read more…

Getting your team on board

Getting your team on board

Does your team share your core values and vision?

In the fourth article in her series, Jane Braithwaite explores the engagement of your team in delivering the most positive patient experience for you patients. Every single interaction with your patient has an impact on their experience of your practice, either positive or negative.

It is vital that every member of your team who interacts with your patients is engaged and motivated to care for them in the manner that you believe delivers the most positive patient experience. But how do you ensure that everyone shares your vision, enthusiasm, passion and motivation? How do you communicate your goals to your team? Your vision, mission and values should be promoted via your website and other collateral for all team members and patients to view. Read more…

Put yourself in your patients shoes

Put yourself in your patients shoes

How your patients feel about the care you provide is arguably the most important measure of your success in private practice. It is essential that patients receive good treatment that improves their health, and this is a fundamental and measurable element of your care.

But there are many other factors that influence how a patient feels about your care and it is all these elements that form the patient experience. You want your patients’ experience to be as good as possible.

YOUR PATIENT should be at the centre of your patient experience strategy and every interaction your patient has with your practice is important.

Who are your patients?

The best way to ensure you are putting your patients first is to think about the patient’s journey, considering the three stages of before, during and after care. Before we do that though, we should start by discussing who your patients are, so you have a clear view of what is important to your typical patient.


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Making your plan to keep patients happy

Making your plan to keep patients happy

Your patients must be at the centre of every aspect of your thinking. To improve patient experience, then, patients must be put first and we must keep patients happy.

When producing any strategy, and particularly when considering patient experience, the key components to consider are your vision statement and your goals and objectives.

Your Vision and Mission Statement

Your vision statement focuses on tomorrow and describes what you want to become. Many companies create both a mission and vision statement, with their mission statement describing what they are today.

If we take HCA Healthcare for example, its mission and vision statements are as follows:

Mission –  Our mission is to provide compassionate care and exceptional service to every patient, every day.

Vision – Our vision is to be a world-class hospital.

It also has a clear set of values, which you can see listed on its website and you may find these interesting and potentially helpful.

In developing your patient experience strategy, you may wish to develop your mission and vision statement and your values, and I would highly encourage this.

As a minimum, I suggest you need clarity on what you aspire to be and therefore your vision statement is essential.

Your patient experience vision must be entirely patient-focused and should describe what you aspire to be in the experience of your patients.

Your vision will become your roadmap. Writing a single statement that encapsulates this is difficult and you may prefer to write a small number of statements that give you clarity and communicate these to your team.


Tangible goals

Armed with your vision statement, the next step is to clarify the goals and objectives that need to be achieved to deliver this ambition and make it reality.

It is often easier to set quantitative goals that are tangible and we often see these described as service levels.  READ MORE…


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How to master the art of keeping patients happy

How to master the art of keeping patients happy

The Guide to Delivering Superior Patient Experience in Private Practice is a new series published in the Independent Practitioner Today designed to give independent practitioners the knowledge and tools needed to keep patients happy and enhance patient experience before, during and after care.

It will be packed full of information that will, hopefully, prompt you to either start or refine your patient experience strategy.

Here Jane Braithwaite begins by clarifying what we mean by patient experience, how to master the art of keeping your patients happy and why it matters.

In future articles, she explores this in more detail, including:

  • How to get started with your strategy
  • How to put patients first
  • Engaging and inspiring your team through to measurement
  • How to continually drive change and further enhance patient experience

Are you keeping your patients happy?

What is patient experience and why does it matter?

Patient experience is more than just providing superior clinical care. It is the sum of quality, safety and how we care for patients.

Every single encounter a patient has with your practice matters and forms the patient experience, whether these interactions are online, face to face during surgery or your follow-up care.

Patient experience starts with a patient’s gut feeling about your service in the earliest stage, which may be at the point where they start to research their symptoms online and discover your website or when they discuss their symptoms with a GP or friend who recommends you.

Patients have greater access to information than ever before via a simple Google search and your website is your shop window to your services and builds your reputation.

A contributing factor to a positive experience is the ability to satisfy those all-important online search queries conducted by healthcare ‘consumers’ each day.

Does your website contain educational content that addresses the health consumer’s symptoms and provides tips for preventative self-care? Read more…


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Are you listening to your patients’ feedback?

Are you listening to your patients’ feedback?

With more private doctors being subject to reviews, Jane Braithwaite, Founder of Designated, highlights the importance of patients’ feedback and gives some excellent tips and advice on handling negative comments.

Patients’ Feedback

Most practices will be receiving patient feedback. This can range from the quiet chat with the receptionist or medical secretary to the – hopefully infrequent – irate phone call or email.

Measuring patient satisfaction and assessing areas for improvement is an important aspect of the Care Quality Commission assessment process, but it should also give you the opportunity to involve all your team members in taking responsibility for improving the patients’ experience.

Feedback sources

Particularly popular forums for online patient feedback can be your practice’s Facebook page or Google My Business account.

Positive reviews here can boost search results, they are easy to request and receive and they give potential patients good insights into your services.

Great reviews can be shared on your website or in articles, but you must ask for the patient’s express permission first to be compliant with GDPR.

On these public channels, there is the danger that a negative review can be widely seen but, if this complaint is handled promptly and professionally, it can often result in a positive outcome. Of course, sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day, and this is where we can help. We can provide social media experts to support you to manage complaints and enquiries quickly and professionally, as and when you need them most.

Many of our clients at Desig­nated Medical request patient reviews on specific medical sector websites such as Doctify, where feedback can be anonymous and complaints can be addressed.

Patients are sent a link to the website’s reviews page, or an iPad app is used to collect reviews at the practice. Similar review options are available on and My Health Specialist.

Satisfaction surveys

Clinics and doctors may choose to set up and implement their own in-house patient satisfaction survey and choose websites such as Smart Survey or Typeform

The results can be summarised into a report giving a focus for practice imp­rovements and could be reviewed at the monthly practice meeting and an action plan agreed to address any issues.

The ad hoc face-to-face or emailed feedback should also be consolidated to form the basis of your improvement plan, which can be used as evidence of listening to patients. We have a team of experienced administrators to help you create and deliver your unique surveys, and we can tailor our services to support your individual needs.

It’s important that an open and understanding culture be fostered within the team, with no fear of blame being apportioned, so that all feedback is actively shared and acted upon.

Use feedback to grow

Positive reviews should be celebrated too, and a dedicated marketing professional can maximise the potential of good feedback. 

This article is part of a series from the Independent Practitioner Today where Jane Braithwaite writes a regular feature. Download full article here.

Should you need support and advice for your private practice, please get in touch 020 7952 1008, or

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