What providers can do to retain patients

Providers should use communication tools to stay in touch with patients.

A new patient comes into a healthcare facility, flips through a magazine in the waiting room, receives treatment for a minor health concern and then leaves. Now what? To keep new patients coming back, it's crucial for healthcare providers to employ patient retention strategies. Part of why patient retention is so important is because it impacts the organization's financial stability. Retaining patients costs 90 percent less than attracting new patients, according to Healthcare IT News. 

Superior patient experiences are essential to a well-run facility 
To achieve vitality, medical facilities need to engage patients and put their needs first. Individuals are treating healthcare the way they would their consumer purchases, according to Healthcare IT News, and they expect quality care and a pleasant experience when interacting with doctors, nurses, administration staff and other healthcare professionals. From the moment people reach out to a provider to the discharge follow-up process, patients expect exceptional and regular engagement. Without a consistent patient retention strategy that incorporates efforts to provide positive visit experiences, healthcare providers can fail to retain patients. 

Consider a patient's preferred method of communication
Equally important to the in-office experience is the way healthcare providers reach out to patients. Individuals favor different communication styles. Some may ask for texts, emails or automated phone call reminders. Be sure to ask people how they'd like to be contacted because staying in touch with patients is the foundation of a strong engagement program. For example, an individual with a health-related question could easily receive prompt advice from a nurse if the person can send an email to the healthcare professional. Texts or emails also help providers follow up with patients.

Communication serves as the backbone of patient access. Marketers in the healthcare field could take a more proactive approach by reminding patients of appointments and informing them of particular support groups. For some patients, this could mean receiving educational pamphlets about a certain condition. All of these methods help build strong patient-doctor relationships. Solid relationships increase patient retention numbers.

Assess the effectiveness of patient engagement techniques
Once measures are in place to improve patient retention, it's important to track their effectiveness by generating analytics and evaluating processes. Gather numbers that provide insight into performance of certain tactics, like direct mail efforts and the creation of educational materials, for example. It's crucial to know what is working and what isn't, so healthcare clinics can continue to execute effective campaigns and enjoy a strong return on marketing investment

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