The Intake

Insights for those starting, managing, and growing independent healthcare practices

Creating a patient-centric practice

Discover how independent practices can use a patient-centric approach to increase patient attraction and retention.

Doctor building relationship with patient running clinic successfully

At a Glance

  • Make informed patient-centric care decisions by taking time to ask your patients what matters to them.
  • Develop a patient-centric philosophy within your practice.
  • Create a patient-centric environment by using automation to improve your front-desk’s availability.

Healthcare systems and corporations can offer some pretty stiff competition for independent providers. But when it comes to a patient-centric experience, there’s no doubt about it: independent practices hold the upper hand.

In Tebra's 2023 Independent Healthcare vs. Corporate and Health System-Based Providers survey of over 1,000 patients, Tebra found that the majority of patients (57%) would be willing to switch to an independent provider in order to access more personalized care. By focusing on delivering patient-centric care, independent practices can not only supercharge their own growth but elevate the healthcare experience for patients.

Let’s look at a few ways you can create a patient-centric practice that enables you to attract and retain more patients.

What is a patient-centric practice?

A patient-centric healthcare practice has processes and policies in place that put a patient’s unique medical needs first. Patient-centric care allows patients to have a bigger hand in their own healthcare treatment, whether it’s making decisions in collaboration with their provider or simply having the opportunity to express their healthcare desires and preferences.

Patient-centric care allows patients to have a bigger hand in their own healthcare treatment. ”

Patient-centric care has been shown to boost medical outcomes and increase patient satisfaction. A patient-first approach helps build a better reputation for your practice, promotes patient retention, and drives overall business growth.

Patient Perspectives Report

What are the 5 key elements of patient-centered care?

While patient-centered care can look a bit different from practice to practice. There are a few key elements that are foundational to a patient-first healthcare model.

  1. Respect for patient values and preferences. Every patient has different medical desires and needs. Patient-centered care factors their values and preferences into their medical decisions.
  2. Access to informed decisions. Patients have a right to education, understanding, and participation in decision-making related to the procedures and treatments that they are receiving.
  3. Reliable and reasonable access. Patient-centered care aims to reduce barriers that prevent patients from receiving the medical care they need when they need it
  4. Compassionate but professional care. Receiving medical care can be overwhelming and emotionally charged. Patient-centered care should be delivered with empathy and understanding to effectively address patient needs.
  5. Continuity of care. Healthcare isn’t one-and-done. Patients will often see a wide variety of providers for various healthcare requirements throughout their lifetime. Sometimes they only need to see at one time. Patient-centered care helps facilitate those transitions and makes receiving care feel seamless. 

How do you create patient-centered care?

Implementing the best practices of a patient-centered practice can be your competitive advantage. 

Here are a few steps to help you put patients first and elevate your independent practice’s patient experience.

Establish your care philosophy

Patient-centered care starts with a patient-centered care philosophy. Everything you do, from how your providers work with patients to managing the operations of your practice, should ladder back up to that philosophy.

But before you can do that, you need to know what matters to your patients. And often this means going beyond just delivering quality medical care. 

Tebra’s survey identified that quality time and strong relationships with a doctor is why 65% of patients choose independent providers in the first place. But what do patients consider to be a part of a strong patient-provider relationship? Tebra found that the top three values were: 

  • Trustworthiness
  • Active listening
  • Strong communication

The combination of these 3 approaches highlight the need for inclusive practices and making patient care a collaborative experience.

Elevate the patient care experience

Healthcare is often already emotionally and financially stressful for patients. Patient-focused care should aim to reduce, or eliminate, the obstacles that come with obtaining care.

For example, 46% of patients say that the quality of care at an independent provider is impacted when it’s difficult to book an appointment. And 49% say they would switch doctors to get appointments when they need them. Self-booking solutions can speed up scheduling, meanwhile, telehealth options can boost appointment availability and accessibility.

Of course, the patient experience carries through to billing. Payment for care can be a source of frustration and stress for patients. Providers should have transparent discussions upfront regarding the cost of treatment and insurance eligibility to reduce the risk of surprise bills. 

Patient-centric care allows patients to have a bigger hand in their own healthcare treatment. ”

And when it comes to billing, make sure your staff accurately verifies benefits, maximizes insurance reimbursements, and effectively communicates with patients about copays. 

Optimize practice management

Patient-centered care starts with your operations. Improving your practice management behind the scenes can make focusing on patient care easier. It allows providers to spend more time nurturing the patient-practice relationships needed for collaborative healthcare, rather than being overburdened by administrative tasks.

Start by freeing up your front-desk staff so they can deliver a better patient experience. Automating appointment scheduling and sending automated reminders can reduce manual phone calls allowing providers to focus on the patients in front of them.

Also, consider putting processes and policies in place that allow your practice to go above and beyond when it comes to delivering care. For example, flexible scheduling policies, such as virtual appointments and walk-in hours, can allow you to better accommodate urgent or last-minute appointments. And offering flexible payment options or sliding-scale payments can reduce barriers to care for patients who have limited coverage or financial resources.

Improve your patients' experience with Tebra's simplified online scheduling.

Creating an independent patient-centric practice that patients love

Prioritizing patient feedback and priorities can help take the guesswork out of patient-centered care and ensure you’re delivering value that matters to your patients.

To provide data-based information, Tebra surveyed patients, nurse practitioners, physicians, and specialists to help you better understand how independent providers stack up to health-based systems. The Independent Provider Playbook rounds up these insights and offers actionable ways to help you create a patient-focused independent practice and stay competitive in the crowded healthcare space. Get your copy today.

Get the playbook

Amanda Li, senior copywriter and content strategist

Amanda Li is a senior copywriter and content strategist. With a diverse background in industries ranging from healthcare to legal tech, she brings a unique perspective to creating content that makes an impact for both organizations and their audiences. Amanda believes that independent practices bring a much-needed level of individualization to the healthcare industry. As someone who understands how important — yet stressful — obtaining healthcare can be, she is an advocate for creating more accessible and positive healthcare experiences for patients.

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