What Patients Really Want, Part II: 3 Factors that Determine Whether They’re Satisfied or Not

Satisfaction: According to Webster, it refers to “anything that brings gratification, pleasure, or contentment.”

According to patients, it’s more complicated than that. Sure, a new nose or smoother brow can provide all of the above but people today want and expect more from their healthcare experiences. Great outcomes aside, they want doctors to do a better job of understanding them and they base their satisfaction (or lack thereof) on a wider range of parameters than you might think.

Consider, for example, the responses more than 1,000 people recently gave when the folks at HTK Marketing asked them: What’s the most important thing in determining whether you’re satisfied or unsatisfied with a local healthcare provider? Their answers ranged from accessibility to up-to-date technology, with three areas providing the most responses:

Feeling Cared For

  • How people are treated emotionally.
  • Listening to me carefully before making a diagnosis.
  • The caring nature of the staff.

Feeling Safe

  • Competence of the entire staff, from the janitors to the brain surgeons.
  • Feeling comfortable with my caregivers.
  • Up to date technology and excellent care.

Feeling Important

  • Care and concern for me.
  • I am treated quickly, efficiently and like a human.
  • Ability to talk with my medical professional.

If there’s a unifying theme to the above insights, it’s that patients view the actual medical care they receive within the larger context of how they’re treated as people. They want good care, of course, but they also want to be cared for — and doctors who create an environment that satisfies both concerns will likely be highly satisfied with the results.

Doctor Takeaways

Think beyond basic care

By the time a patient comes in for a procedure, she’s already made multiple judgments about your practice, including whether she was made to feel welcome on previous visits, whether you and your staff listened to her concerns, and whether or not she feels confident she’s making the right decision. And such factors play an outsized role in patient satisfaction: According to one study, patients who were unsatisfied with a medical experience were four times more likely to complain about customer service or bedside manner than their doctors’ medical skills.

Read what they say about you

We all call them doctor reviews but the chronicles that patients share on RealSelf prove that the most valuable online reviews are really about procedures, patients’ emotional needs, and how they feel they were treated throughout their aesthetic journeys. Reading what those patients say about their experiences with your practice reveals their pain points and areas for potential improvement.

Encourage your staff to take the initiative

Given how much of patient satisfaction is predicated on non-medical concerns, it’s clear that making patients feel cared for, safe, and important is everyone’s job. From a warm welcome to a sympathetic ear, empowering your team to take the initiative can help turn satisfied patients into delighted ones.

About Rob Lovitt

Rob Lovitt is a longtime writer and editor who believes every good business has a great story to tell. He has written for dozens of magazines and websites, including NBCnews.com, Expedia.com and the inflight magazines of Alaska, Horizon and Frontier airlines.

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