Every healthcare professional recognizes the importance of patient retention. Keeping patients healthy and satisfied is the hallmark of a successful and thriving medical practice.
However, many clinics, especially smaller ones or newly opened facilities, may struggle in this aspect of operations. While no single strategy will provide a guarantee of patients staying with a practice, the following tips can help increase the chances that your patients will remain.
Patients may not stay with the practice if they find making an appointment too difficult. Similarly, they may not arrive at that visit without an appropriate and timely reminder.
Find a trusted software program that allows patients to request appointment times online. After they submit a request, the office staff can then attempt to accommodate the request and call the patient back.
Once confirmed, a reminder phone message, text, or email should go out 48 hours before the appointment. This additional time gives the patient a chance to cancel or change the scheduled visit at least 24 hours in advance, to make the process easier for the clinic staff. For facilities that require a cancelation fee within 24 hours, the patient has the option of avoiding this charge if sent a reminder early enough.
One of the main reasons people leave businesses of any type is the feeling that the staff is indifferent to their needs. In fact, this single reason accounts for 68% of people changing the businesses they patronize.
When it comes to a medical practice, train staff to balance handling large volumes of patients with increasing the care they take with each one. Staff members who feel overworked should have a chance to take a quick break to recover their composure. The few minutes taken by employees to refresh themselves and avoid taking their ire out on patients could help to increase patient retention and prevent financial loss for the practice.
Taking the time to acknowledge each patient can also help. For instance, send a card to each one on their birthday. Offer discounts for regular patients or those who have patronized the practice for years. Even asking them for ways to improve the practice and following through on feasible suggestions makes patients feel heard and appreciated.
Taking the time to call patients who file complaints or offer criticism is a great way of turning unsatisfied people into lifelong patrons.
Addressing their concerns is vital because 95% of people with negative experiences actually will not make complaints. Therefore, relying on the reports of the 5% who do and making necessary adjustments could help improve satisfaction and increase the chances they’ll stay with your practice.
For most people, scheduling and keeping a medical appointment requires sacrifice from their daily routines. To retain more patients, make the process as open as possible to a variety of patient needs.
Payment options should be as varied as possible and clearly posted at both the reception and billing areas to avoid any confusion.
Most patients will still have to cover a co-pay even with insurance. Letting them know immediately the types of credit cards accepted can help ease their minds. Also, be willing to work with cash-only patients, if possible. For those who do not have insurance, visiting a practice that offers flexibility to help them pay for their visit and treatment will feel more caring as well.
While most clinics operate during standard business hours Mondays through Fridays, not everyone can set aside time from their workday to visit. If possible, offer weekend or extended hours to ensure patients have time available when they won't have to take off from work or school.
Increasing parking spaces or adding locations can also help improve patient retention. Patients may not want to visit the clinic if they can’t ever find parking. For parking garages or lots, many practices choose to dedicate the closest spots to the entrance for patients only. These spots reduce the time a patient must spend searching for a spot and decreases their walking distance to the entrance.
A data breach or loss of information can quickly hurt patient confidence in your practice.
Handling numerous paper files and sending multiple faxes to various insurance providers or other clinicians creates a complicated situation where information loss and data security become serious threats.
A simple solution is converting the office to an all-digital patient record and delivery system.
HIPAA compliant cloud fax services like mFax are the most secure and reliable way to send and receive important patient data. Security features include:
Additionally, a robust API allows you to integrate fax within your existing clinic software, so your staff can fax more efficiently and you gain peace of mind knowing your patient data is safe.
When patients feel valued, they’re more likely to remain regular patrons. To improve how each patient perceives your practice, use good business operations such as facilitating scheduling, offering better hours, and protecting sensitive information.
Don't let patients slip through the cracks anymore. A few simple changes to your operating procedures can cut down on lost patients and solidify the clinic's bottom line.