Creating that satisfying chiropractic experience that also optimizes holistic health utilizing human centered design healthcare
Your patients are the force fueling your existence. They are integral to your reputation, your revenue, your research, your marketing efforts, your future, and to a certain degree your level of career satisfaction.
They are the reason you (and I) chose health care — to make a difference improving the health of others.
Yet along the way, other forces such as rules, regulations, technology, health care policy and software intended to assist with caring for patients have in some ways made it more confusing and difficult. In fact, a study published in the Annals of Family Medicine¹ reported that practitioners spent nearly six hours out of an 11.4-hour workday in their electronic health record (EHR) system, along with an additional 86 minutes after hours completing EHR tasks.
What human centered design healthcare means
While technology and policies are not going away (for many good reasons), the pendulum has swung (through patient demand and practitioner desire) to focus on something that improves patient engagement and ultimately your level of enjoyment as a chiropractor. That focus is human-centered patient care.
Human centered design healthcare and patient care dates to the 1980s. My simplified definition is that human-centered patient care is creating a satisfying experience for the patient and their family that effectively optimizes their overall holistic health. That may sound unattainable to many, but for those of you who consistently experience this in your practice (realizing there are always outliers), you know how amazing it feels. In my experience, it can also be a great antidote for practitioner burnout.
So how do you implement human-centered patient care in your practice? Below are five effective strategies:
You: Any shift in your practice must begin with you and your leadership team. Not only do you need to clarify and share your vision of human-centered patient care along with your “why,” but you need to be a living example and mentor for your staff. You must demonstrate the change you desire to see in your practice.
Your Team: Your team members are your ambassadors. They have a critical role in creating your patients’ experience and identifying their most important needs. Hire and develop your staff to have the highest level of customer service. Apart from a few specialized roles, I believe that if your team members have a high degree of customer service and interpersonal communication skill, you can train them to master any other necessary skills. Include your team in identifying what your patients want and need, as well as creating the consistent processes that support your vision of human centered design healthcare.
Your Environment: The “vibe” of your office impacts your patient experience as well as their likelihood of sharing their problems and engaging with you to follow through on your treatment plan. Does your environment reflect the experience you desire for your patients? Is it warm and engaging or cold and sterile? Are there smiles and sincerity or grumbling and hurriedness? Involve your team in making changes that support your vision and will enhance your patients’ overall experience. Empower them to manage conflicts right away rather than letting them fester into a bigger problem.
Your Marketing: Have you defined the ideal patients you want to work with? Have you identified their primary pain points causing them to seek your services? Do you know what is most important to them for a positive experience? Have you incorporated these needs into your office routines? Do you know what differentiates you from your competitors? Are you willing to be uniquely you instead of doing what everyone else is doing? This information will allow you to implement simple marketing efforts to attract the exact patients you enjoy working with and create raving fans who trust you, provide positive reviews and happily send more patients your way.
Your Technology: While technology can be a thorn in your side, it can also be a great way to communicate with your patients and engage with them on a more regular basis. Combining technology such as online scheduling, e-newsletters, text messaging, apps and patient portals with personalized visits, phone calls and even snail mail thank-you notes is a great way to better understand patient needs, as well as increase their satisfaction and ultimately their outcomes.
A health care transformation is underway. The refreshing return to a focus on a personalized human touch while embracing useful technology is becoming more of a reality. This has been driven by practitioners and patients alike. The human centered design healthcare you and your team create in your practice will improve patients’ outcomes while enhancing your level of enjoyment in your practice.
KAROL CLARK, MSN, RN, is the best-selling author of “How to Add Medical Weight Loss to Your Practice: 7 Steps to an Enjoyable Business, Healthier Patients and Increased Profitability,” and owner of Weight Loss Practice Builder. She has more than 20 years of experience working with surgical and non-surgical weight-loss patients and assisting physicians in building an enjoyable weight-loss practice. She partners with Nutritional Resources (d/b/a HealthWise at healthwisenri.com) for creation of educational programs and articles for weight-loss practitioners.