Patient volume is one of the most important metrics for your practice. Making sure that there’s a steady flow of patients is paramount for keeping your business alive.
But the most important source of patient volume comes from patients who have already visited you in the past. Current patients who continue to trust you to take care of their needs are the backbone of your business! As a result, you need to keep them satisfied so that they will not only continue to come in but so that they will refer others as well.
When patients decide to switch providers, we refer to that as leakage. Your job as a practice owner is to keep leakage as low as possible. So how do you reduce leakage and keep patients satisfied?
Patient Retention Strategies & Ideas
Make sure patients are treated with respect at every encounter.
It’s such a simple thing, but it’s so important. Patients are in a vulnerable state when they walk into a medical practice. Whether it’s a routine checkup or it’s a consultation about a very serious condition, two things are for certain: 1) they would probably rather be somewhere else, and 2) they’re more vulnerable than they’re used to being. For this reason, it’s important to remind them that the people who work at your hospital or practice are human, too, and understand their need to be respected and treated fairly.
A patient should never feel like an intrusion or a nuisance. Make sure that they feel like their needs will be attended to, even if the office is hectic. This will require you to train staff, particularly new staff, on how to treat patients with proper respect.
Do whatever it takes to reduce wait times.
Nobody likes to wait, and patients experiencing long wait times may feel that their needs are being ignored. They may feel like they’re just another headache for the organization, even though you don’t see them that way.
Reducing wait times by making sure that appointment scheduling is done in advance, keeping physicians and other staff accountable for operational efficiency, and keeping patients well-informed about their appointments so that missed or late appointments do not affect others’ wait times.
Sometimes, things happen. If a patient’s wait time cannot be reduced, do what you can to notify them in advance and give them an opportunity to reschedule if they would not like to wait. Giving patients an option goes a long way.
Reach out to patients who are overdue for an appointment.
Patients might not know they’re overdue for an appointment. It’s up to your practice to make sure that messages are being sent to them. If you know that a patient hasn’t scheduled an appointment that they’re supposed to get, reach out to them! There are plenty of reasons why a patient would fail to schedule an appointment, and the most common ones have to do with their own schedule.
It’s also important to follow up and connect with patients. If possible, ask them why they didn’t make an appointment when they were due for one. Maybe they moved and are no longer in your service area, or maybe they simply didn’t have the time.
Want to learn more about how you can increase the number of patients who come in? Check out our tips to increase patient volumes!
Learn more about Sequence Health’s patient engagement solutions!