5 Tips for Creating an Effective Patient Retention StrategyPosted: April 6, 2022 - By Health Dev
Even if you provide top-notch patient care, it might not be enough to keep your patients coming back. With countless providers available, you’re no longer guaranteed repeat business, even when you provide the best care. Having a patient retention strategy can help you build better relationships with your patients and inspire them to stick with you for the long haul.
How a Patient Retention Strategy Can Impact Patient Satisfaction
Setting up a patient retention strategy will help you provide a more consistent experience for each patient. If your private practice employs multiple practitioners, having a set strategy in place means that all of your patients are likely to have similar experiences when they visit your office, no matter who they speak with.
A patient retention strategy also motivates you to follow up with your patients to learn how you can improve in the future. Your patients might not like your current automated appointment system, or they might ask you to send more reminders leading up to their appointment. You can use this feedback to improve your service delivery.
How to Create an Effective Patient Retention Plan
Knowing where to start a patient retention strategy can be daunting. You might not know how often to engage customers to foster the best relationship. You will also need to consider the right ways to gather feedback from patients to manage the patient relationship and build loyalty. Here are some key considerations for your patient retention plan.
1. Encourage Loyal Patients to Leave Online Reviews
Each time a new patient books an appointment, they’re probably relying on your online presence to make their decision. In one survey, nearly all the patients who responded said that they think online reviews are reliable, and many of them use these reviews to find a new doctor.
You probably know your most loyal patients. At the end of their appointment, encourage them to leave an online review. When patients leave reviews, have your staff respond by thanking them for taking the time to leave a review. This can help your loyal patients feel valued, and signal to potential new patients that you care about the people who come to see you for care, which may lead to new patients and improved patient retention.
2. Keep Patients Coming Back With Focused Engagement Efforts
By engaging your patients, you enable them to become active participants in their own healthcare. You can help your patient improve their own well-being, making them more likely to be satisfied with their level of care.
Keep in touch with your patients through multiple channels, including text and email, and let them ask questions. Provide them with the information they can use to participate in their own care. This may include sharing educational tools or other information on their health conditions that allow them to make better decisions about their treatment options.
Focused engagement shows that you’re committed to better patient care, and it helps you build trust with your patients because you keep them involved instead of taking full control of their care.
3. Make Sure Patients Understand Their Treatment Plan
When you and your patient work together to create a treatment plan, encourage them to ask follow-up questions, and make yourself available for these questions by phone and email. By helping to make sure that your patient understands their treatment plan, you can be more confident that they’ll follow it.
Being available to walk your patients through their treatment plans helps improve their standard of care. When you’re talking through each treatment plan, be empathetic and caring to help each patient feel valued.
4. Keep in Touch With Patients Via Email
Using email to stay in touch with your patients makes it easier for them to manage appointments, refill prescriptions, and do other routine tasks. With email, they can talk to you on their schedule, and you don’t have to spend time away from other patients to answer phone calls and have long, unexpected conversations. Make sure you use a secure platform to stay HIPAA compliant.
You can also engage your patients with email marketing. Send out a monthly newsletter with interesting health information to encourage patients on their wellness journey. Demandforce offers an email tool with templates, which you can use to write engaging newsletters that resonate with your patients. Divide your patients into segments and tailor your messages to each segment, making them seem more personal.
5. Boost Retention Efforts With a Quick Survey at Each Office Visit
Patient feedback is a great way to find potential gaps in the patient experience. With a patient retention strategy, you can establish a policy to ensure that each patient receives a survey after their visit. These surveys will help you identify ways to improve, making each experience better than the last.
Automate a follow-up message for each patient with a link to a brief survey so they can rate their visit. Include some open-ended questions where patients can add specific details about why they were or weren’t satisfied. Give someone in your office the responsibility of evaluating these surveys. Use the information to develop procedures that fill the gaps in customer experience.