3 Ways Stress is Costing You Patients

by Katie Sawyer, 4 minutes read
HOME blog ways stress is costing you patients

When you hear about happy staff, you probably imagine a team that’s energized by seeing patients. They’re able to not only provide quality care, but bring the intangible elements that make your clinic feel welcoming.

But what does it look like when your staff are stressed? And how can it impact your business?

According to a recent survey of 2,000 patients, staff burnout can be more harmful than you think. Keep reading to learn three ways stress is costing you patients — and what you can do about it.

1. Your patients don’t trust you

It turns out, being stressed can even undermine a healthcare professional’s credibility in the eyes of their patients. Only 45% of consumers said they’re likely to trust their healthcare provider if they seem stressed or frustrated.

Women were less likely to say they’d trust a stressed healthcare professional (38%) than men (56%). Furthermore, just one in 10 consumers in the Southwest said they were “very likely” to trust a stressed health care provider.

While poor service/care would keep seven in 10 patients from returning to a healthcare clinic, results also showed disgruntled staff would be a bigger deterrent to a repeat visit (54%) than price (47%) or the clinic’s location (41%).

So how can you build patient trust? Develop a patient satisfaction survey. Ask patients to rate and describe the best and worst parts of their experience, and follow up with those who express frustration to learn more about their pain points and what can be improved.

Pay especially close attention to those who didn’t schedule a return visit, or ended up canceling it altogether. Did they have trouble just getting an appointment to begin with? Were their pain points linked more to the appointment itself? How quick and accommodating was the front office staff? How would they rate their HCP’s bedside manner?

2. Your staff are unhappy

A consistently stressed staff is unlikely to stick around for long. They may also feel uncomfortable bringing up the topic of their schedule, opting instead to give subtle hints such as taking more sick days or time off than usual, or by being consistently absent from work.

And when you’re trying to grow your practice, that can be the difference between seeing more patients and closing your doors for good.

Observe the turnover rate throughout the year, as well as when staff is requesting time off the most. If it coincides with the busiest times of the year, you may be able to better pinpoint when your team needs additional resources to get things done.

Incentivizing your staff to take time off or reset can also help. Be transparent about what staff need to do to be eligible for monetary rewards or awards. Having the time to relax and use some of their financial perks, such as discounts to their favorite stores, can boost morale and keep your team around for longer.

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3. You can’t provide quality care

Sometimes a sign of high stress can show in how your staff provide care. For example, one of your top receptionists might begin snapping at an insurance rep on the phone. Or maybe they begin showing up late to work.

If your staff are on the edge of burnout, they might miss simple, but important, tasks. For example, they could forget to send a follow-up email to a patient about post-appointment treatment. Or maybe your technician forgets to give your patient protective glasses for their root canal (thankfully, they remembered at the last minute).

If you see a pattern, be sure to talk to your staff privately and check in on their well-being. The right software de-silos teams by providing greater visibility into everyone’s schedules — from front office staff to managers. It also allows staff to take paid time off and sick days with greater confidence knowing someone will be there to cover their load.

Quality care with quality tools

To prevent or minimize staff stress, healthcare clinics can turn to a solution they may sometimes overlook: streamlining their staff scheduling.

Ready to spend less time worrying about who is working when — and more time connecting with your patients?

Download The Practice Manager’s Guide to Work-Life Balance and learn how that work-life balance becomes easy and achievable.