In the ever-evolving healthcare landscape, patient experience is no longer a secondary consideration —it’s a critical business initiative. In fact, according to a study by LaneTerralever, 85% of Americans say customer experience can make a small company win their business over a large company. As technology and demographics reshape the industry, healthcare organizations must adapt to meet the changing expectations of patients. To help your organization excel in this transformative journey, here are the top seven tips to help you revolutionize your healthcare patient experience:

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1. Foster a culture of empathy and compassion

Staff training and education: Develop comprehensive training programs emphasizing empathy and compassionate care among healthcare staff. These programs should include real-world scenarios and practical exercises to enhance empathy skills.

Patient-centered engagement: Data from LaneTerralever cites a striking 56% of Gen Z places the greatest importance on the emotional components of their healthcare experiences over all other aspects, more than any other generation. With this in mind, encourage healthcare professionals to engage with patients beyond medical needs actively. Address concerns, provide emotional support, and foster a patient-centered environment where patients feel heard and cared for. Recognize and reward staff who consistently excel in patient-centered care.

2. Maintain high digital standards

Digital forward approach: Recognize that a patient’s first interaction often occurs online in today’s digital-first society, and our younger generations don’t just prefer digital capabilities when dealing with their healthcare providers; they expect it.

Empower patients: Offer digital tools that provide easy access to medical records, simplify appointment scheduling, and facilitate efficient communication with healthcare professionals. While investments in delivering these capabilities through websites and apps can require significant up-front investment, they provide clear patient experience benefits while reducing the burden on your support staff.

3. Prioritize patient experience strategically

Be intentional: Putting your patients at the center of your strategic initiatives requires alignment, coordination and cooperation across your organization. Because of the cross-functional nature of these initiatives, it requires support at the highest levels of your organization to break down silos and reward collaboration in the name of enhancing patient experience.

Recognize the costs of neglect: Understand the consequences of ignoring patient experience in a consumer-driven healthcare environment. According to a national study by LaneTerralever: 47% of Americans would contemplate switching healthcare providers in pursuit of a better patient experience. Reading that another way — a competitor who provides a clearly better experience has a great chance at stealing 47% of your patients. Astonishingly, losing a patient to a competitor doesn’t take much: according to the study, a single negative incident would be enough for 41% to make the leap.

4. Streamline access to information

Centralized information: Ensure patient information is easily accessible and centralized for all healthcare personnel. Centralized, healthy data systems ensure speed and accuracy across all patient interactions, which are critical in healthcare.

Comprehensive health portals: Develop comprehensive online health portals that offer access to medical records and personalized health recommendations, wellness tips and access to virtual health communities. These portals empower patients to take an active role in their healthcare journey.

5. Active listening and feedback utilization

Listen actively: Start by actively listening to your patients. Take the time to slow down and speak with them. As many providers have prioritized the volume of patients they process in the name of efficiency, they’re sacrificing patient satisfaction. By actively listening to each patient,  health systems encourage retention, which can be more valuable than one-time visits.

Gather insights and take action: Collect and document valuable insights into the patient’s journey within your healthcare system by systematically asking your patients for feedback. But listening is just the first step. The real work and rewards come from implementing changes based on patient feedback, creating a continuous improvement cycle.

6. Embrace Generation Z’s needs

Understand Gen Z: GenZ isn’t coming soon; they’re already here, and they’re making their own healthcare decisions. Recognizing what they value in the different aspects of their healthcare experience will provide clear indicators of what you need to change in your practice to adapt to this new generation.

Adapt and customize: Adjust your approach by offering support groups, mental health resources and personalized wellness plans to address the emotionally-driven needs of this emerging demographic.

7. Embrace a patient-centric future

PX as a strategic asset: Understand that patient experience is not an afterthought; it’s a strategic asset and should align with a company’s mission. In a sea of largely commoditized healthcare services, exceptional patient experience is the most straightforward path to long-term, strategy-driven success. Make patient experience a core pillar of your organizational strategy to get your teams there. It should not feel like an add-on but a fundamental operating principle that guides decision-making at every level, from administrative choices to bedside care.

Human-centered approach: Place human interactions at the heart of your healthcare model. Recognize and respect your patients’ diverse backgrounds, cultures and values. Doing this ensures that healthcare is not just about diagnoses and treatments but also about holistic care that values the person as a whole.

Taking care of patients means more than just diagnosing illnesses and prescribing medication. It’s about creating an environment where patients feel supported, listened to and valued. In today’s world, ignoring the patient experience is a significant risk. Remember: A single lousy experience could make 41% of people think about switching providers. So, what’s at stake? Simply put: your organization’s future.

But, when you get it right, the rewards are enormous. A patient who feels understood and cared for is likely to stick with you. They’re also more likely to recommend you to family and friends. That’s why improving the patient experience isn’t just good for the people you care for; it’s crucial for staying ahead in the healthcare game.

By implementing these seven tips, healthcare providers can meet the changing needs of their patients head-on. It’s not just about doing well now; it’s about setting the stage for long-term success. So, don’t just treat diseases, treat people — because that’s the future of healthcare. And the future is already here. 

Author: Chris Johnson is founder and CEO of LaneTerralever.