Patients leave, it is a fact of any medical practice. However, when they do, it is important to understand why in order to retain patients in the future. Keep reading to understand why patients leave and how we can make them stay.
Long wait times.
Delays are a part of life, especially in medical offices, but it is imperative that we do our best to work with the patients who are affected. When there is a delay in your office, does your staff tell your patients about it? If it will be an extensive delay, do you give the option to reschedule? Does your staff call patients scheduled for later in the day and explain the delay and give them options? Most patients will understand an unexpected delay, but they appreciate it when you work with them and keep them informed. However, if there are delays for every appointment, patients will become quickly unforgiving. If long wait times are an issue at your office it is time to take a look at office procedures and increase efficiency.
Patients feeling neglected.
Having a nurse return patient calls is an important and a common practice. But there are many times patients want to speak directly with their physicians. Patients look to their physicians for guidance and security in stressful times, and will often leave a practice if they do not feel their doctor cares enough to return a call. Taking the time to personally consult them and assure them that everything will be fine will strengthen the doctor and patient relationship and will keep patients loyal to your practice.
Optimizing your patient scheduling system will make it easier for your clients to get the times they want, and will help you boost volume throughout the day. Ensure you have a schedule that provides a good balances for your patients and physicians. The wrong scheduling style can create unwanted delays and overwhelm physicians. With the right scheduling pattern you can avoid unhappy patients who could potentially leave your practice.
With all the technology available to us, getting a patient scheduled and seen should be fairly simple. If it is difficult for a patient to call and make an appointment, get a response, or see their doctor, they won’t stay. Give them different options for scheduling as some people feel more comfortable scheduling online while others would rather schedule in person. Utilize a seamless appointment reminder system and ensure your patients don’t have to deal with excess paperwork. If your website doesn’t have a patient portal, implement one immediately. Patient portals are an excellent way to share and exchange important information with patients in a safe and convenient manner. Make sure it is easy to navigate, give them access to payment and scheduling options and provide them with easy access to important information such as results and records.
We live in a time of immediate gratification. To be able to compete, it’s time to get flexible with office hours. Even if it’s just one day during the week where you stay open late, or you are open for a few hours on a Saturday morning. Your patients and their families are busy and typical hours aren’t always possible, so give them what they need to set yourself apart from the competition.
Office appearance and professionalism.
For many patients, waiting rooms are a part of life so make sure yours is clean, comfortable and up-to-date. Keep the office clutter free inside and the outside fresh and well maintained. Presentation is key, and appearances matter just as much in healthcare as any other.
Patient care is about more than experience and procedure, you need to provide a great service as well. This goes for all aspects of your practice and at every stage of the experience.
While the general public may not always be the easiest to please, keeping them happy doesn’t require a PhD. Patients must receive the utmost care throughout each appointment experience. From appointment making and the front desk greeting, to the actual treatment and all the way to a follow up call, it is essential a patient feels valued. With these simple tips and tricks, you will find that your patients are happier and your less-than-satisfied patients become more loyal each day.Posted by