Office culture is what sets the non-verbal tone for the whole patient visit - it's what determines how you make a patient feel when you are treating them. These cues and others have just as much, if not more, impact on the patient experience than the tools used for treatment.
Ask yourself, is speed the goal of the practice or is making patients feel like they’re the only patient scheduled that day?Does staff ensure each patient is welcomed and thanked, or do patients get ignored? Ultimately, do patients leave feeling like they were truly cared for or do they leave feeling like they were processed?
Elevating the patient experience doesn’t require dramatic changes. Something as simple as sitting with a patient can alter the patient experience for the better.
In fact, research shows that patients perceive doctors spend more time with them if the doctor sits, rather than stand - even though it’s the same amount of time (Swayden, 2011).
Another simple way to improve patient experience could be providing patients with a blanket while in the chair. Especially if the operatory is on the side of cold and sterile - where the small gesture of comfort stands in stark contrast to the environment.
These are the kinds of things that make or break patient experience, not having the latest technology. This isn’t to say that the newest technology and procedures aren’t worthwhile, just that it should come second to patients feeling cared for.
After all, feeling cared for and special is the part the experience patients will talk about and come back for. The part that translates to increased retention and more referrals.
Swayden, K. J., Anderson, K. K., Connelly, L. M., Moran, J. S., McMahon, J. K., & Arnold, P. M. (2011). Effect of Sitting vs. Standing on Perception of Provider Time at Bedside. Patient Education Counsel, 86(2), 166-171. Retrieved March 11, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21719234.