The acquisition of new patients will surely boost your practice revenue. Both patient acquisition and retention are mandatory to the financial health of your medical practice. But, acquiring new patients is seven times costlier and time consuming compared to patient retention. Hence, patient retention matters even if you have newly set up your practice or have a successful long-term career. But, have you ever thought about what keeps those patients coming back or keeps them away from coming back to you? The good news is that you can make several changes to fight the problem. Let us examine the reasons for lower patient retention and provide relevant solutions to fix the issues. 

Appointment Mismanagement

If your patients face inconvenience while scheduling an appointment, they might become upset and choose another physician. It should not take more time to schedule their appointments. That's why online scheduling should be highly encouraged. In the case of telephonic appointments, ask your patients about their history, lifestyle, and guide them proactively. Your patients might even miss their scheduled appointments. Hence, they should be regularly informed of their upcoming appointments by automating appointment reminders via texts and emails to reduce 'no-shows.' 

Lack of Communication 

Lack of communication can develop feelings of indifference between the patients and the providers. It's mandatory to create a patient outreach strategy such as sending weekly or monthly newsletter updates and sending birthday cards. Try to look for innovative ways to communicate with your patients by keeping all the communication lines open. You can even contact your patients to check if they are recovering well also. All these personalized gestures will make a significant impact on the patients. 

Similarly, train your staff members to be friendly, which will ultimately enhance your patient retention. Remember that even the best practice receives negative reviews. Handle your patients' feedback professionally by thanking them and addressing their issues. Even if the problems remain unsolved, it's recommended to request an apology for their unpleasant experience. 

 

Front Office Blunders 

Long wait times can be forgiven. But the first negative impression created from front office staff during the patient visit should be strictly avoided. Practices have the potential to lose millions of dollars at the front desk. Conditions like poor phone skills, extended hold times, misinformation, or billing issues can create extensive chaos. Patients won't come back if the staffs are incompetent or rude. Tasks like appointment scheduling, timely reminders, and patient surveys should be automated. Staff should be trained appropriately and remain informative so that they can create a memorable impact on patients. 

 

High Wait Times

Nearly 30% of patients complain that they have skipped their physicians' appointments due to high wait times. On average, the patients in the US spend a minimum of 20 minutes. If their waiting environment is uncomfortable, they get a negative opinion of your practice. Furthermore, they won't schedule the next visit thinking about this undesirable waiting duration and will find another physician. So, it's better to find new ideas about reducing this waiting time and keeping your patients more engaged. 

Poor Technology Use

At times, your practice will seem outdated if patients had to wait for a long time to contact you, followed by extensive paperwork. Your patients rather expect email contact forms, website chatbots, online account access, timely attendance of phone calls, and much more, which could simplify their experience. 

No Flexibility in Working Hours

Patients miss their follow-up appointments due to their inability to reach your clinic at the set time for their treatment. Hence, it would be good to make a few adjustments in your work schedule as they prefer open clinics on weekends and nights. 

Low Patient Engagement 

Patient engagement plays a critical role in retaining them. You must keep your patients informed about the latest healthcare options and encourage them to take responsibility for their healthcare. Please help them to make choices about their treatment plans. It is mandatory to educate patients continuously about the importance of regular health check-ups. You can send newsletters about your practice updates to the patients. You can send personalized emails or social media posts on health tips, industry news, surveys, and much more to your patients. If you ultimately make your patients feel that you are there to provide timely care, retention can be achieved. 

Better Care Elsewhere

Just one not-so-good experience is enough for a patient to decide whether he should opt for better care elsewhere. That's where online reputation plays a significant role for any physician. Before opting for a specific physician, the patient goes through several online review sites to check other patients' care experience with that physician. If online reviews are positive, the patient would be ready to take a chance. Else, he would decide to opt for another physician. Hence, it's always advised to have a good relationship with your patients. 

Imagine filling a bucket that has multiple holes. Pouring the water inside represent new patient acquisition. Losing the water through the holes mean losing your patients. When the holes are plugged well, the water level will increase. Similarly, only when the patients retain as and when they come to you, your revenue will potentially grow. 

Hence solving the above issues becomes mandatory to boost your patient retention score and transform your practice for the better. 

Still, are you not sure where to start? You can contact our Hifinite team to know how to take patient retention to the next level. 

 

References:

https://www.practicebuilders.com/blog/a-complete-guide-to-patient-retention-at-your-medical-practice/

 

https://healthcaresuccess.com/blog/patient-experience/patient-retention.html

 

http://www.novologik.com/dental-management-software/dental-patient-retention/

https://www.patientpop.com/blog/running-a-practice/patient-experience/4-reasons-patient-retention-declining/

Reasons for lower patient retention & how to fix it?

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