Hack Patient Retention with These 4 Tips
Is your practice plagued with no shows, cancellations, and a schedule filled with blanks? Are your waiting rooms only half-filled? Well, let me ask you this question, do you have the contact information for all of your patients in a place that is easily accessible? I'm guessing it's somewhere in your medical record going unused. In this article I'm going to teach you how to hack one of the most important things to a successful practice: patient retention.
I promise if you follow these instructions, you will be well on your way to marketing automation and this will keep your patients in your practice long-term.
Okay, so let's get started.
Make a list of the four most important data points you need for every patient:
- Your patient's name: If you don't have a list of every single patient that has ever walked into your practice, you're losing patients. Every single piece of communication needs to be personalized to them. Period. Look for a marketing solution that can do this automatically.
- Your patient's cell phone number: Patient's don't actually want to be called. Most of them would prefer to get a text message than a phone call from their doctor.
- Your patient's email address: Did you know patients check their emails on their phones an average of 34 times every day?
- Your patient's birthday: Who doesn't love getting a reminder they are getting older? Just kidding. But, seriously, getting a happy birthday shout out from you is really sweet and says how much you care.
It's astonishing the number of doctors who do not have this information handy, and it doesn't surprise me that their retention rates are so low. Task one of your staff to see if your EHR provides the ability to easily export this data. If it doesn't, you can make an Excel spreadsheet, but it might be better to change your EHR!
- Automate Your Patient Appointment Reminders Via Email & Text: Now that you have your patient list, it is time to consider a solution that can automate your communications. This solution should allow you to quickly upload your patient data so you can send automatic reminder emails or texts and follow up requests to review your practice. Most patients don't miss appointments because they don't want to see you, they miss them because their lives are busy and they forget. Reminders can cut no shows in half.
- Schedule Their Next Visit Before They Leave the Office: Take a tip from the dentists who are GREAT at this: At every preventive visit, make a habit of scheduling the patient's next annual visit before they leave the office. You save the time and hassle of follow up calls for recalls, keep your schedule filled, and with automated reminders, you can also make sure the patients show up.
- Send Out A Monthly Newsletter With Health Education & Practice Updates: If you don't have a way to securely communicate via email to your entire patient panel, you are missing out on one of the easiest ways to reactivate patients--the monthly newsletter. In this newsletter you can explain all of the interactions a patient should be having with your practice including all services and touch points. This newsletter can be your conduit for teaching patients how to engage with your practice online through social media, making appointment requests, and receiving text and email reminders.
Automating patient communications and marketing is really very easy with the right practice marketing solution.