Good patient outcomes depend on proper diagnosis and prescribing, but also on patients complying with their treatment plans. Whether this means an alteration in diet, a new medication regimen or another treatment, compliance can be extremely difficult for patients to achieve. According to Dr. Steven R. Feldman, a dermatologist who spoke at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, patient satisfaction is a crucial component in making sure treatment is effective and the patient is compliant with necessary treatments.

Encouraging patients to use the right medication, according to Dr. Feldman, "is critical to treatment success and depends on the quality of the interaction between patients and clinicians. You want that interaction to be good. Not only is it good for business and reduces malpractice risk, it is essential for getting patients well."

Certain conditions bring with them even more difficulty in ensuring patient treatment compliance. In dermatology, this includes acne and psoriasis, according to Family Practice News. Behavioral issues may also mark patients who might have trouble sticking to plans. This is a serious situation for physicians who want to provide good care, and it is also serious from a revenue cycle management standpoint. As more payers transition to a pay-for-performance model of reimbursement, physician practices will need to pay special attention to patient outcomes, including treatment compliance.

How to improve compliance
Feldman, who founded a patient satisfaction survey service at DrScore.com, identified seven traits patients appreciate in their practitioners. These are access, communication, empathy, high-quality medical care, follow-up, good facilities and coordination with practice staff. Ensuring each of these seven traits is the best it can be at a practice leads to satisfied patients – who are in turn more likely to comply with their treatment regimens and get the best possible outcomes from their own care.

Many of these measures can be very easy to take. For example, providing greater access to a practitioner may be as simple as using a patient portal on electronic health records or instituting a general practice email or text message number that allows patients to get in touch when they need to. Practitioners who have difficulty displaying empathy can enroll in courses meant to help them do so, from professional development to acting, or can simply take the advice of more experienced peers.

Improved patient compliance should lead to better revenue cycle management, and one of the best ways to ensure it does is by working with a dedicated medical billing and coding company.