Cross-industry studies show that increasing customer retention rates by 5 percent can increase profits from 25 to 95 percent. While that’s a wide profit range, the implications show that improving patient retention can significantly impact your practice’s bottom line because having a loyal patient base helps you avoid patient acquisition costs.
In today’s competitive healthcare environment, patient retention is easier said than done. Patients know they have options when it comes to choosing their doctor and they aren’t afraid to leave and find a new care provider if they aren’t happy with their experience. While factors like insurance and referrals play a role in how patients select a doctor, what keeps them around is the experience they have before, during, and after care with your office.
Luckily, for healthcare practices who are focused on improving patient retention, technology can help to make the patient experience seamless, coordinated, and convenient.
Read on to learn how your practice can use technology as you prioritize improving patient retention.
Personalize the Patient Experience
When your patients feel like they have a personal connection with you and your practice, they are more likely to stick around. One way to strengthen the patient-provider relationship is by offering a more personalized experience for each of your patients. While that may sound daunting, it’s actually easier than you think thanks to technology and it makes a huge difference in improving patient retention.
Technology allows healthcare practices to use data to tailor messages, timing, and frequency for a variety of patient populations without labor-intensive manual effort. Using your electronic health records in combination with patient outreach software, it’s easier than ever for your practice to customize interactions with your patients.
There are many strategies to personalizing the patient experience using technology, including:
- Sending personalized communication: Automated communication via phone, text, and email can easily be tailored to your patients’ needs and preferences. From appointment confirmations and recalls to birthday greetings and medication reminders, your patients will feel more loyal to your practice when they feel cared for as an individual and not just a block on a schedule.
- Conduct ongoing outreach in-between visits: The decisions patients make outside of the doctor’s office have a huge impact on their health and wellness, so don’t forget to stay in touch even when they aren’t on the schedule. Sending condition-specific resources for managing chronic conditions or simply asking how they’re feeling can help them feel engaged in their care, thereby improving patient retention.
- Following up with post-visit surveys: Asking for patient feedback after a visit is an effective way to capture the patient experience in real-time and respond to it while it’s fresh in the patient’s mind. Patients appreciate the opportunity to be heard and will feel loyal to you when they see you take action to resolve any issues.
Make Healthcare Convenient and Accessible
Just like you, patients have busy schedules as they juggle work, family, hobbies, and taking care of themselves. Patients are accustomed to using technology that makes every other area of their lives easier, from food delivery to online hotel reservations. They expect their healthcare experience to be just as easy. Here are a few ways technology enables improved patient retention through convenient digital tools:
- Online scheduling: Patients want the ability to book, reschedule, or cancel their healthcare appointments online. It’s not only faster than calling to schedule an appointment, but it’s also more convenient as they can visit your practice’s website when and where it suits them best. And if something comes up, they can change the appointment just as easily without dealing without being put on hold via phone.
- Transportation services: Getting to and from appointments can be a concern for patients with transportation challenges. By helping patients find and secure rides via ridesharing services, patients can more easily access the care they need. Ridesharing collaborations aren’t limited to just healthcare appointments either. Health systems can also offer transportation options for helping patients pick up prescriptions at the pharmacy, too, helping with medication and care plan adherence. For a more comprehensive approach, you can also offer transportation to grocery stores or safe places to exercise, too.
- Virtual health: For patients who work regular business hours, offering alternative options via virtual health tools can help to ensure these patients still receive the care they need without having to rearrange their schedules. For example, telemedicine allows patients to talk to a care provider via a webcam from wherever they are while mHealth mobile apps can provide easy access to relevant healthcare information. Wearable technology can also help patients maintain health and wellness as they monitor and track health data, such as heart rate. This data can easily be integrated with their medical records at your office, helping you to care for patients anytime, anywhere. And, offering better care means you’re on your way to increasing patient retention.
- Other online services: Scheduling is just one way patients engage with your practice in between appointments. Other online services such as patient portals and online bill pay can help you improve patient retention as they offer another point of convenience. In particular, patient portals can also help facilitate better access to providers as patients can send secure messages when they have questions or concerns without needing to book a slot in your schedule.
Improving patient retention is really about providing great customer service to your patients. By investing in technology that helps your practice offer personalized and convenient care, your patients are more likely to want to stay with you. And, the more loyal patients you can keep, the greater the patient lifetime value.
Are you ready to get serious about improving patient retention through the use of technology? Contact us today to see a free demo with one of our experts.