If two medical practices offer similar services at the same rates, one practice will become more successful than the other. There are several factors responsible, but one stands out. It is Patient Retention. Of the two similar practices, one practice implements effective strategies and retains 90% of its patients. Meanwhile, the other practice keeps only 40% due to a lack of patient retention strategies.
No matter how excellent your services are and how considerate your staff is, your medical practice will most likely lose patients, and getting new patients is not easy. The secret lies in retaining more patients than you are losing. This article highlights practical and long-lasting patient retention strategies proven to minimize the number of patients leaving your practice. But first, let’s understand a few concepts.
What is Patient Retention?
Patient retention refers to a healthcare practice’s marketing strategy to keep regular patients involved and engaged with their brand for an extended period. Patient retention helps transform acquired patients into loyal patients returning to your practice after an initial visit.
Some medical practices fail to recognize the importance of patient retention as they focus more on attracting new patients. They believe that adding more patients will likely increase their profits. However, the easiest and most feasible way of growing your practice and increasing your revenue is by retaining existing patients. Attracting potential patients is time-consuming and requires more effort and money.
To retain patients, you must keep them happy and satisfied with your services. Here are six patient retention strategies you can implement now to drive profitability into your medical practice:
1. Understand Why Patients are Leaving
The first step towards increasing patient retention is finding out and addressing why patients leave a medical practice. Typically, patients lose contact with their physicians because they no longer need medical care. However, that’s not always the case. Sometimes, patients leave their healthcare providers when:
- They have a bad experience with the staff.
- They want a physician with more experience, competence, and a positive attitude.
- They want a medical practice offering advanced technologies.
- They find a more affordable healthcare provider.
To retain patients and stop them from leaving your practice, you must invest in making them feel like partners rather than customers. Treat them well, listen to their complaints and feedback, and improve on areas where you are lacking.
2. Provide a More Personalized Experience
To keep your existing patients engaged and connected, offer them a more personalized experience rather than treating them the same way you did when they were new patients.
Do this by sending a monthly newsletter or texting to update and provide vital medical information. This helps create a deeper emotional connection. It is also an excellent way for patients to learn about your existing and new services, stay updated with your current events, participate in webinars, etc.
3. Connect With Patients Virtually
Medical practices establish an online presence by setting up a website and social media pages to connect with patients. You can optimize social media to strengthen existing doctor-patient relationships with your regular patients.
Avoid only posting about your new services. Instead, share informative content suitable for patient engagement and make time to reply to their comments on your posts. This allows your target audience recognize your practice as responsive, creating a lasting impression.
4. Use Patient Feedback to Improve Service
Patient feedback is one of the most critical and valuable contributions your patients can offer to make your medical practice successful. Gathering feedback reminds patients that you value their opinions and always strive to meet their expectations.
Feedback helps you identify specific areas in your practice that need improvement. Leverage patient feedback and make adjustments in your services if necessary. Patient feedback plays a vital role in transforming your practice from mediocre to becoming a respected and trusted brand.
5. Embrace Online Scheduling
Patients value their time, so they greatly appreciate healthcare providers who provide convenient scheduling and rescheduling of appointments via two-way text messaging rather than sticking to traditional communication where they have to call your front desk. Having convenient appointment scheduling means a higher likelihood a patient will book with your practice.
Use appointment scheduling software for smoother booking transactions. Telemedicine systems like Curogram offer online appointment booking and customizable appointment reminders to reduce patient cancellations or no-shows.
6. Introduce Telemedicine
Everyone wants convenience. Whether for food delivery or appointment booking. Fortunately, telemedicine continues to expand to keep up with the increasing patients’ demand for convenience.
One of the many benefits of telemedicine is that it facilitates direct communication, which is more than beneficial for patients if they have questions for their physicians but don’t necessarily need to schedule an entire appointment.
Telemedicine fills gaps in healthcare, such as poor manual services, unorganized scheduling systems, and burdensome waiting room times that make patients quietly disappear from your roster.
The key to patient retention is patient satisfaction. Patients will stay with a medical practice if its healthcare providers and services meet and exceed their expectations. Considering that loyal patients are one of your best business assets, implementing patient retention strategies is a sustainable and long-term approach to keep your healthcare practice reaping rewards for years. Follow the patient retention strategies outlined above; even though they do not yield overnight results, you shall see a significant difference in your practice’s growth.