Patient Retention Strategies:
While you would never wish for your patients to need a doctor, when they do need one, you want them to come to you. That’s what patient retention is really all about. A physician doesn’t have to become a skilled salesperson to achieve the goal of a high rate of patient retention—but it is an important aspect of medical revenue cycle management (RCM) and necessary for running a successful business.
For practices that provide ongoing care, whether it’s a family physician performing annual exams on healthy patients, or routine, ongoing treatment such as allergy shots or diabetes monitoring and maintenance, patient retention becomes especially valuable for developing a stable practice.
Make Patients Feel Valued
No one likes to be treated like just another piece of paper to process. If your patients get the feeling that they are not respected and valued, they will leave and go where they are. Patient loyalty has to be earned, and making the effort to get to know patients and make them feel that you heard them and are committed to helping goes a long way toward building a relationship that will last.
Patients are aware that they have options and will drive right past a medical office to get to one where they feel like they get better care. That means even doctors who are seeing patients who must remain in-network have competitors.
There are an untold number of reviews online that say something along the lines of, “the doctor was fine but the staff were rude and I’ll never go back there.” Make sure that your staff understand that customer relations is a critical part of the service they deliver.
It is important for the front office to be well organized, so patients are efficiently signed in and appointments run on time, and it is also important that staff be friendly and compassionate.
Appear Confident and Competent
Not only do patients become annoyed with being delayed or staff appearing not to really know how to help them, but if physicians and staff seem unsure, patients lose confidence and the resulting lack of trust will send them elsewhere for care.
On the other hand, integrity is also very important to keeping patients’ trust, so be sure to admit when you don’t know something. Consult a colleague or mentor or do some research when you need more information but be honest with the patient about it. Good communication is the key to creating a lasting relationship.
It’s a great idea to ask happy patients to leave a review on social media and review sites. Many potential patients read online reviews when selecting a new doctor, and there is no better advertisement than a happy customer.
Demonstrate Current Awareness and Understanding
When a patient feels like their doctor just goes next door and looks up their symptoms on the internet, they don’t get the feeling that they are in especially good hands. Making a point of staying up to date on the latest practices and technology takes a lot of effort, but it will make you stand out as an expert in your field when you share your knowledge with patients.
Because new medications and treatments are constantly being developed, medical billing codes are too. Outsourcing medical billing has proven to be beneficial for practices of all sizes because physicians don’t have to also stay on top of all the coding changes. By handing off medical billing and accounts receivable management to experts in coding and revenue cycle management, physicians can focus on the important business-building tasks involving patients rather than the admin side of things.
On the subject of being current…make sure the offices and waiting area are modern and comfortable. Older patients are not likely to be concerned with a dated office, but younger adults are certainly sensitive to how comfortable the space is for them and may equate an antiquated environment with obsolete medical knowledge, which will certainly keep them from returning.
MedcareMSO is a medical billing company with a unique approach. Our services are personalized for each client and we make sure you can reach us when you need us—not fill out a “ticket” and wait days for a reply. Ready to get started on the path to a high revenue practice? Give us a call at 800-640-6409 to find out how.