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Social Paragon Blog

What Is The External Patient Experience?

Posted by Nate Sato on Sep 23, 2016 4:16:22 PM

Your patient experience is critical to success and reputation of your practice. But when does that experience start? Is it when they walk in the door for the first time? Or did their experience start well before that?

What Is Your Patient Experience?

As a healthcare provider one of the most important things you focus on is your patient experience.  You want your patients to feel welcome, informed, comfortable and delighted by the services that you provide.  Most of the time we think of the patient experience starting from the minute they walk in the doors.

  • How are they greeted by your staff?
  • What is your waiting room like?
  • How well do you listen to their concerns?
  • How well do you explain their condition and diagnosis?

These are some of components that make up your patient experience.  But what if your patient experience started well before they ever set foot in your office?

 We like to think of the patient experience in two parts.  The Internal Patient Experience is everything the patient experiences while they are at your office.  The External Patient Experience is everything that happens before they walk in. 

Where does the external experience start?

We know the #1 reason people choose their healthcare providers is because of a referral or recommendation from a friend.  This is why your internal patient experience matters.  If your current patients don’t have a good experience with you, they are never going to tell their friends to see you.

But today, a referral is not enough. In most cases, as soon as someone has a name they pull up their favorite search engine and start looking up the company.  With healthcare providers it’s no different, prospective patients type the doctors name or office into the search engine and begin learning all they can.  This is where your external experience starts.

Your online presence is the first experience your future patients will have with you.  What they see and read will be the foundations of their opinions. Consumers today are quick to judge you by your website, reviews and how easy it is to find you.

Key components in the external patient experience.

When someone searches your name and company online a lot of information can be surfaced.  There are a number of things you have control over to improve your online presence.  Spending time on a few of these things will improve your external experience and set the stage for a positive internal experience at your office. 

  1. Is your information accurate on Google My Business, Yahoo Local, and Bing Places for Business? These search engines make up a majority of the web searches today and are likely the place your patients will find you. You want to make sure your address, phone number, hours, and website link are accurate on all of these sites. 
  1. What is your online reputation? In today's internet, anywhere your business is listed online people can leave reviews. There are over 100 different directories and review sites where your patients can leave feedback.  Bad reviews can make prospective patients unsure about the care they might receive and choose to go elsewhere. 
  1. Is your website mobile responsive? We know that nearly 60% of all web traffic today come from mobile devices. If you're page isn't optimized for mobile it will make it difficult for the majority of the people visiting your site to find the information they need. 
  1. Can your patients get to know you online? A professional, inviting photo and comprehensive biography will help build a relationship with your patients before you ever meet. A video profile is even better. Studies have shown that providers with a video profile see an increase in leads up to 30 to 60% higher than providers without a video.
  2. Are your services clearly listed? Do your patients know what you do and how well you do it? Having clear and organized content about the services you offer will help patients get the answers they need and feel confident in the services you provide.

  3. How social are you? If someone was to look at your Facebook page or Twitter timeline would they find relative and informative content? Or would they just see a post wishing them a happy halloween or whatever the last holiday was? Your social media page is more than just a way to connect with patients its a place to share helpful information and brand you as an expert in the field.

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