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Did you know there is only a 60 to 70% chance that an established patient will continue with the same healthcare provider for their next appointment? In addition, there is a 5 to 20% chance new patients will come in for a second appointment.
Most patients don’t return to a medical practice due to a lack of communication or a poor experience. Improving patient retention is key to your practice’s success long term. If you’re struggling to find retention solutions for your practice, you’re in the right place.
Keep reading this guide to learn five ways to increase patient retention in your medical practice!
1. Make a Good First Impression
Although this seems obvious, it’s easily overlooked. However, it’s the first step you must take toward improving retention. Remember, first impressions distinguish a good medical practice from an exceptional one.
A patient’s first impression of your practice can happen in two ways. The first is by visiting your website, and the second is by making a phone call to your office. This means you’ll need to cover your bases.
For phone calls, you’ll need to ensure your staff answers the phone with a friendly, helpful tone. It’s best to avoid having calls go to voicemail during business hours. To improve this, you can consider using an answering service.
You can also use software that allows your staff to exchange text messages with patients. Live text messaging will enable patients to schedule appointments and request information easily.
You must ensure your website is easy to navigate, professional, and optimized for SEO. It also needs a clean design, relevant patient information, and a clear call to action.
2. Inform and Educate Your Patients
Informing and educating your patients is a crucial patient retention strategy you need to pay attention to.
A great way to do this is by starting a blog. Blogs are a great way to educate on various topics important to patient health and well-being. It also showcases your expertise as a medical practice.
You’ll also need to establish a strong social media presence. You can do this by ensuring your social media profiles have accurate and consistent practice information. This information should include your business hours, a short biography about your practice, and relevant pictures.
You should take other steps that include:
- Automate your social media posts
- Consider hiring a social media manager
- Define your audience
- Publish content daily to connect with your patients
- Write e-guides about preventative screenings and other health reminders
- Network with other medical organizations
- Consider paid advertising
- Share your posts multiple times
- Listen to feedback
- Ask questions and inspire conversations
3. Get Regular Feedback From Your Patients
If your patients aren’t happy with their visit to your practice, chances are they’ll look for another provider.
Even more, if you don’t take the time to find out what went wrong, you can face losing a large percentage of your patients. When you give your patients a voice, it helps them feel appreciated and empowered.
Promptly addressing major issues is key to retaining patients. So, you can start by providing surveys for patients to fill out after their visits. Sites like Yelp and Google provide you with links you can send directly to your patients to leave a review.
You can also send patient care surveys via text or email. Digital surveys make it easy for your patients to complete and submit a survey no matter where they are. Other ways to encourage feedback include:
- Create a page on your website that directs patients to a review section
- Encourage patients to leave feedback on your social media pages
- Call your patients after an appointment
Be sure to ask questions about their staff interactions, appointment booking, and if they felt their questions were answered.
4. Improve the In-Office Experience
It’s essential to take steps to improve the overall office experience for your patients. Ideally, you want your patients to feel welcome as soon as they walk through the door.
You’ll first need to ensure you have the right staff on your team. Your employees should be naturally friendly, warm, and engaging. Proper office equipment will also help you to retain your patient. You should also create steps to take at each visit that includes:
- Greet every patient by their name when possible
- Always smile and make eye contact
- Let your patients know the estimated wait times for appointments
- Be sure to update patients regularly if wait times change
- Offer them water or coffee while they wait
- Let them know where the restroom is located
- Provide reading materials
- Answer all questions and address concerns
- Make sure your patients understand their treatment options
5. Use Practice Management Software
Practice management software is a type of software system that will help you streamline your practice operations. If you aren’t using practice management software in every aspect of your practice, it’s time to make changes.
Practice management software makes things much easier for your patients by allowing them to book appointments online. You can streamline this process so that your patients get an automated confirmation once they book.
You’ll also be able to manage your patient records quickly and easily since they’ll be in one central location. This allows you to improve the quality of patient care overall.
Practice management software also automates your billing processes, which reduces billing errors and keeps your patients up to date.
With fewer administrative tasks, you’ll have much more time to invest in your patients.
If you’re a new practice or need help implementing an electronic medical record system, you can look at hiring a medical practice consultant. You’ll also get assistance with all aspects of your medical practice operations to improve retention.
Increasing Patient Retention
Following these steps will help you increase patient retention, making your practice more successful long-term.
Be sure to keep track of what’s working and what isn’t, and don’t be afraid to make more changes until you see the results you’re looking for. Finally, don’t hesitate to hire professional help to get moving in the right direction.
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