In today’s world, patients are more informed than ever before. They have a range of tools to help them with decision-making when it comes to choosing a private practice, which is why it’s important to understand how your practice is perceived and the reasons why. 

Clinic perception is driven by a range of different things for patients, they will have different experiences depending on where they are in their research journey. 

For example; 

  • How easy is it to find you on the internet or social media? 
  • Do you look credible and trustworthy? 
  • Can they find your contact details? 
  • Do you answer the phone or emails? 
  • How do you correspond with patients? 
  • What do others think about you? 
  • If you’ve used them before have they remembered you? 

Patient experience is key to practices success, because if you give the patient a positive experience then they will remember you and become an advocate for your practice. A loyal patient is a more profitable one because they will promote your practice free of charge and return to you in the future! If they have a poor experience, then they will tell everyone and anyone who will listen which can be very damaging, especially when it’s broadcast across social media. 

That is why understanding the patient journey is so important. Knowing that all the patient touchpoints for your practice are on brand and up to date and that your internal processes are set up to truly deliver a positive patient experience. 

A typical patient will research and evaluate your clinic and your competitors before deciding whether to engage with your services. By understanding this journey, and the influencing factors that help with their decision-making, you can better position your clinic to meet their needs as well as deliver a positive experience throughout the process. 

  

Typically, patients go through 3 different stages before making a decision. 

PATIENT JOURNEY
  1. Awareness stage– a patient is looking to solve a problem
    During this stage, a patient will be researching and looking for educational information about the problem they want to solve or the need that they have. 
    At this stage, patients will be looking at these channels; Google searches so SEO is important at this stage, website, social media and any advertising. 
  2. Considerationstage– a patient is considering options to solve the problem 
    During this stage, patients will be reading what you offer on your website and competitor websites to see who offers what. They may also be reading articles and case studies. Most importantly patients will be looking to understand what other people think of you so they will be influenced by testimonials either on your website or on trusted patient satisfaction websites e.g. Doctify etc 
  3. Decision stage – the patient evaluates and decides on the clinicthat will help them solve the problem
    At this stage, they will make contact with the practice, either by email, telephone or through the contact form on your website. This is the stage where internal processes are key to ensure the patient experiences are good and finds out any specific information they require. They are kept up to date and informed about the service they are interested in and feel valued. 

Just as important as the 3 stages above, is the aftercare experience, which is when you can really make a patient feel valued and turn them into a loyal patient. This is the time to ensure you have all the relevant contact details and GDPR compliance to make sure you can keep in touch with the patient in the future either through newsletters or emails. 

Capturing patient satisfaction through surveys or testimonials is also important for your practice. If they’ve had a positive experience then they will become an advocate and give you a good patient satisfaction rating or testimonial which money can’t buy! 

What to do now? 
Now is the time to review all the patient touchpoints for your practice, and make sure that all your patient-facing marketing channels are up to date and relevant. Review your internal processes so that you understand what happens when someone gets in contact with you and how is it managed internally to ensure they receive a positive patient experience. 

This is the patient journey and by understanding all of the elements that contribute to this, you will be able to successfully grow your practice and ensure it is better than your competitors and deliver a positively memorable patient experience. 

If you would like to find out more about how Designated can help with understanding your patient journey, please do get in touch: 

Michelle Wheeler, Marketing Director, michelle@designatedgroup.com 020 7952 1008 

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