In today’s technological era, healthcare choices, mode of delivery and financial options are easily accessible to everyone. Patients consistently shop for cost-effective healthcare options. In this competitive scenario, patient participation and patient experience become key to patient retention. Patient engagement in making well-informed decisions about their healthcare needs empowers patients, improves health outcomes, and nurtures a long-lasting relationship.
Here are a few important elements that medical practices can implement to increase patient retention.
Make Patient Life Easier Through Excellent Patient Engagement
As with any business, patient engagement is the fundamental tenet of success. The following 3 strategies when implemented, will create greater patient engagement and make them the drivers of their health.
- Patient Portal
Patient portal allows practices and patients to connect with each other from any device and at any time. It allows them to interact with physicians via messages, access their medical records and have a say in health care decision making. This transparency creates mutual trust and commitment. These satisfied patients are more likely to continue with their physician, and recommend them to their family and friends.
Reducing patient wait time is productive for both the patient and the practice. By using ProCheckIn, patients complete their paperwork quickly, prior to their appointment. ProCheckIn allows legal documents to get signed electronically using the HIPAA compliant e-signature feature. This saves time and helps practices to provide value-based care and treatment while also reducing paper-based costs. ProCheckIn is one of the best strategies for seamlessly scheduling appointments, helping both patients and practices.
- Appointment Reminders
Text reminders are yet another simple solution to reduce the time and revenue lost in patient no-shows. Automating appointment reminders, either via phone calls or text messages, leads to greater productivity and increased revenues. It establishes a ” looked after” feeling and enhances the patient experience, especially when they are juggling with their commitments and activities.
Patient-Centered Model for Medical Billing
Creating an easy and secure billing experience is key to the success of patient experience and thereby patient retention. Having a bad billing experience can cause difficulty for practice in retaining patients.
More than 50% of patients surveyed by HIMSS Analytics and Waystar said that they prefer electronic medical billing and patient collections. Patients also said they were more likely to pay their medical bills if online options were available.
“Engage patients before they arrive regarding the process and their expected expense overall and out-of-pocket. Set expectations and then meet them. Target explanations to first-time customers. These are all possible basic levers to breakthrough performance—values that ultimately drive lower operating costs, stronger loyalty to the institution, and word-of-mouth momentum among your patients and community”According to Connance Consumer Impact survey
- Online Payment
The focus of patient-centered billing is to provide convenience, and transparency to the patients. One of the ways to ease the billing process is to add provide secure online billing payment options to the patients along with the existing process paper bills or accepting credit card payments over the telephone. While patients prefer digitized communication, some of the doctors are still stuck with paper-based billing. According to feedback from providers – payment collections reduce, account resolutions soar through paper-based billing. Streamlining medical billing and digitizing patient collections is something all physician practices should consider to collect payments in the digital age. Patients save time and practice benefit in reduced calls, reduced paperwork, and increased revenues.
- Patient Plans
Health expenses are one of the biggest challenges that stand in the way of a patient’s ability to pay. Implementing “Best Practices for Successful Payment Plans” amplifies patient experience and ensures greater collections from patients whether they self-pay or have high-deductibles. Automated, scheduled payment plans save billing services a lot of time and costs. It reduces the generation of multiple patient statements, follow-up while improving patient communication and clarity around the payment process.
Feedback From Patients
Patients are more likely to return when practices ensure that patient’s satisfaction is also about involving them in identifying gaps in deliverables and developing an action plan accordingly. Surveys and feedback from regular and irregular patients are a way to involve the patient’s in care delivery. Giving importance to online reviews is another way to leverage patient feedback. To ensure that we keep our patients in the loop, communication in the form of feedback, reviews or testimonial goes a long way.
Patients need to know that they are cared for and not viewed solely as paychecks. Care towards patients is about providing that essential empathy. It can be easy to forget the emotional quotient. As physicians, creating empathy through personal conversations help create the psychological, emotional and mental connection between patient-provider.
Branding and Communication
Healthcare practices struggle to provide consistent branding. A communication strategy makes it easier to reach the right audience. The branding of the practice is crucial to putting forward a personality, but so is the demographic. According to a Kantar health report, 37% of millennials use the internet for exploring healthcare options. They find it to be the genuine and relevant source of information.
Numerous medical practices underestimate the importance of a communication strategy. Various marketing agencies work to provide help to any business with specific approaches. Healthcare practices can use online resources as critical source of information. As such, digital content needs to be part of our overall communication strategy. Online marketing approach may comprise of setting up a website for the practice. Practices can also have a social media presence and utilize it to create greater patient engagement.
Other Effective & Proven Patient Retention Strategies
- Plan a robust marketing strategy
- Build your patient trust
- Training front-office staff
- Keep employees happy
- Personalize each patient‘s experience
Accomplishing patient retention is one of the main obstacles in modern healthcare. It is key to surviving in an industry where competition is fierce. For increased Patient Engagement and Patient Retention, request a free demo with PrognoCIS.