5 Ways to Increase Patient Retention
Patient satisfaction has always been a critical component of the doctor-patient relationship. Today, however, patient satisfaction is becoming even more important to healthcare reimbursement due to the advent of quality metrics and satisfaction scores.
Non-clinical factors can have a profound impact on patient satisfaction and ultimately on patient retention. When a patient arrives for an appointment after having made multiple calls to schedule a visit, struggling to find parking, and immediately being presented with a stack of paper forms to complete, the staff must work especially hard to engage him or her. Some factors affecting patient retention are beyond your control, but several are reasonable and worthwhile to examine and reassess. Here are 5 ways you can increase patient retention.
1. Step Up Your Practice’s Web Presence
Hiring just a few hours of a web designer’s time can make a measurable impact on the effectiveness of your practice website. Your web designer will ensure the pages that make up your website are optimized for indexing by search engines, and that the site is easy to navigate. Features like a secure patient portal where patients can log in to pay bills, schedule visits, or access test results, save patients and staff members time and can increase collections. Blogs, videos, and other valuable health information can encourage patients to bookmark your site and can keep your practice in the forefront of their minds when they need healthcare.
2. Be Tech-Friendly
Even your older patients are comfortable using mobile devices to schedule appointments, pay bills, and receive reminders. Many EHR systems include tools that allow you to connect securely with patient mobile devices, and standalone services are available too. The idea is to make it as easy and convenient as possible for patients to connect with your practice, whether they’re at home or away.
3. Invest in Customer Care Training
All staff members who interact with patients should receive customer care training. It’s all too easy for patients to feel like a number rather than a name, and when they feel they are “in the way” or that their questions are bothersome, their trust in your practice overall can erode. Excellent customer care training is an investment with a swift, positive return, and can elevate the mood throughout the practice.
4. Take a Patient Survey
One of the best ways to learn what patients want from your practice is to ask them. Patient surveys can be terrific for identifying strengths and weaknesses, and for tailoring practices to patient needs. For example, if your pediatrics practice closes at noon on Wednesdays, yet that’s the local school district’s early dismissal day, you could be unintentionally reducing convenience for patient families.
5. Let Medical Staffing Agencies Assist with Continuity of Services
Retaining your patient base depends to a large extent on retaining your excellent physicians. Medical staffing agencies can ensure that when one of your providers takes vacation time or is otherwise unavailable, patients will continue to be seen without interruption of services. This is true even if you run a specialty practice if you choose a staffing agency that places specialists as well as general practice clinicians.
Today’s medical practice simply cannot take patient retention for granted. In addition to experiencing frequent changes in insurance plans, patients are more likely to seek care elsewhere when they believe they have not been taken seriously, have been treated discourteously, or simply have trouble scheduling care.
All Medical Locum Tenens provides practices with locum tenens physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants, to keep service interruptions to an absolute minimum. Your patients can call, confident they will be able to get the medical services they need even if clinical staff members are on vacation, out sick, or otherwise unavailable.
The cost of locum tenens providers is more than offset by the revenues they bring in, and by the reassurance your patients experience knowing they can count on your practice to be there for them. We encourage you to schedule a consultation to discuss locum tenens hiring as an important part of your practice’s overall service strategy.