10 Ways to Increase Your Patient Retention in 2022
Providing healthcare of the highest quality is most likely the main purpose of your practice, as it should be. You cannot reach this goal without loyal patients who stay with your service for a long time. Long-term patients tend to spend more with each visit and help improve your service, which is why it is important to increase patient retention. Patients choose a practice to visit frequently based on several factors, and improving these factors can significantly improve your patient retention.
Make it easy to make an appointment
A patient’s decision to pick your service begins to get influenced before they even come for their appointment. Depending on the ease of making an appointment, a patient may already be swayed to stay with your practice. If your appointment-making process has multiple steps, with each step taking a long time to complete, then it is likely that a patient may not even complete the process. It is better to offer online appointment-making services along with traditional methods such as phone calls, to better serve your patients.
First impressions matter
This is another important factor to be considered. Much like every other social conversation, the first impression is absolutely crucial for patient retention. The first impression that a patient has can determine whether or not they even want to have the first appointment with you, let alone becoming a long-term patient. When patients call for more information or reach out through social media platforms, it is important to not only reply to them in a timely manner but also to be as clear and concise as possible, in responding to the message.
Send out appointment reminders
Patients tend to forget about appointments, especially if they were booked months in advance. Being informed of the appointment after they have already missed it can be quite frustrating for the patients. You should always send out appointment reminders via text, call, or email, based on the patient’s preference. This not only is beneficial for the patients but it also ensures that you do not have gaps in your day.
Provide a welcoming environment for patients
When a patient enters your service, they should feel welcomed. Having someone welcome them and tell them where to go, or what to do increases the satisfaction of the patient. A patient entering and having to figure out where they have to go is not a happy patient. They are most likely not going to be satisfied with the patient care you provide even if it is of high quality because of a lack of a welcoming environment. It is important to increase patient satisfaction by being welcoming cause this high satisfaction can lead to the patient choosing your service over the others.
Make waiting rooms and lobbies comfortable for patients
Even the most smooth running practices may need their patients to wait in the lobby or a waiting room for a while. While you should try to reduce the waiting time as much as possible, you should also prepare your waiting room to be as comfortable as possible, in case a patient has to wait. Spruce up the waiting room, have comfortable chairs, and updated magazines for patients to browse through. Most doctors’ offices have years-old magazines and that isn’t the most entertaining thing for a patient to look through while waiting.
Have an online presence
Invest in a website, and have social media accounts that provide all necessary information about your service like the working hours. Most patients nowadays check out hospitals and practices online, and not having an online presence shows that you are outdated, reflecting poorly on your service. Patients may not even want to book the first appointment, let alone stay for long-term healthcare.
Give payment options to patients
Don’t have only one mode of payment for your patients but rather let them choose from a range of payment options. This doesn’t put them in an awkward spot when it comes to payment. If your service cannot afford to have multiple payment options, it is important to let the patients know that while they are booking the appointment and while sending out appointment reminders. This allows the patients to come prepared and have a smooth experience overall.
Take patient opinions into consideration
It is highly recommended that you have one of your staff members walk the patient from the office to the lobby, instead of letting the patients figure it all out for themselves. While they are being walked out, your staff can ask them about their experience and any complaints they may have. You should also offer patient satisfaction surveys after the appointment to know what you can improve. It makes the patients feel heard and they are more likely to stay, especially when they see the changes you have implemented as per their suggestions.
Provide educational information to your patients
Having educational pamphlets and brochures that patients can pick up at the reception or in the office is one of the easiest methods to ensure patient information. After you have explained everything, they should know about their condition, and it is recommended to give them a pamphlet that they can refer to, once home.
Train staff to handle upset patients with care
You should hire staff that has experience in customer care, so that they can better handle patients who are upset, regardless of the cause of their upset behavior. You should also provide your staff with sensitivity training so that they can handle an upset patient with care, and make them feel heard and understood. Once the patient has been treated with respect and care, they are more likely to stick with your service than if the patient was simply removed from premises for being upset. Your staff should be able to resolve problems in a calm manner so that not only the affected patient but also those around can see that your practice treats everyone with respect. It may seem quite simple but is crucial for patient retention.
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