10 Tips to Enhance the ASC Patient Experience

Written by: Laurie Brown, MBA, COMT, COE, CPC, CPMA, OSC

Meeting both patient and surgeon expectations is vital for ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs). Patients only refer friends and loved ones to a facility if they’ve had a good experience. Meanwhile, surgeons listen to their patients about their ASC experience before recommending others to the center. In both instances, the ASC must surpass customer service expectations to attract business.

Knowing that, let’s look at the top 10 ways to enhance customer service in the ASC, David Letterman-style:

  • #10 Have a Friendly Staff

    Employing professional, friendly staff who are informative, helpful, and courteous to all is a must! They are the ones that shape patients’ first impression of the facility.

  • #9 Setting Proper Expectations

    Establishing expectations for patients and their families for all steps of the surgical process such as scheduling details, financial obligations, procedure day flow, and post-op care is essential. This allows them to know what to anticipate and prepare accordingly.

  • #8 Practicing Transparency

    Being upfront, especially regarding financing is important. This involves performing revenue cycle management well and avoiding any billing surprises down the road for patients. Patients knowing exactly what they will need to cover helps to reduce their stress and fear, making for a more pleasant surgical experience.

  • #7 Creating a Welcoming Environment

    Focusing on the small details can make a big difference. Work toward creating a soft, smooth, and focused experience with calm voices, few distractions, and relaxed humor. Strive for consistency in the quality of experience for your patients so all can enjoy a pleasant encounter.

  • #6 Embracing standardization

    Having standard protocols and staff assignments for all ASC processes creates a harmonious, well-functioning operation. It increases efficiency, supports teamwork and accountability, decreases the risk of errors, and reduces staff stress and energy expenditures. All this translates to excellent customer service for patients.

  • #5 Staying Organized

    Being organized around the patient schedule and other operational aspects of the ASC gives the impression of competency. Hyper-organized ASCs also reflect attention to detail, cleanliness, and care. Patients will feel safer getting a procedure done in your facility than a hospital, as the environment will reinforce that they are in good hands.

  • #4 Going the Extra Mile

    Doing simple gestures with the patient in mind can really elevate the patient experience. For instance, who wouldn’t love a warm blanket in a chilly environment, some numbing before fishing for a vein, one-to-one nursing with few interruptions, or the always welcomed refreshment in the recovery area? These small touches make patients feel cared for and special.

  • #3 Covering Post-op Care

    Communicating post-op instructions to patients and their families before leaving is imperative to customer service and compliance. This ensures they know what they should and should not do at home to achieve the best results. Also, follow up with a post-op call later to make sure recovery is going well. Nothing makes for a better patient experience than a successful outcome.

  • #2 Welcoming and Sharing Feedback

    Conducting surveys of all ASC patients for your Quality Assurance & Performance Improvement (QAPI) program and using that data is invaluable. Not only can that information guide process improvements but help staff in providing customer service. Be sure to share positive feedback with staff and any areas of opportunity to fine-tune the patient experience.

  • #1 Prioritizing staff happiness

    Nothing influences the patient experience more than staff happiness. None of the other ASC customer service initiatives can be done well without happy staff working as a team. Staff happiness comes from leadership support, surgeon appreciation, and the ability to learn and celebrate successes together. Satisfied staff who enjoy their work and can offer specialized one-on-one focused patient care, creates a positive experience and spreads happiness to patients.

Set your ASC Apart

It’s clear that there are simple ways to enhance the ASC experience for patients. A little extra attention to patient communication and comforts combined with a dedication to facility efficiency and organization, staff needs, and outstanding outcomes will set your ASC apart.

INTERESTED IN MORE TIPS? View our webinar with Laurie Brown where she shares more ways to improve customer service and enhance the patient experience at your ASC.