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How To Increase Patient Retention

How To Increase Patient Retention

Are you still having issues of converting those first-time patients into returning, long term patients to your medical practice? There are some things your medical practice could implement to help increase your patient retention rate for your business.

You have a great website. You rank high for all of your target keywords. You have the best providers in the area. Most importantly, you are bringing new patients into your medical clinic. Are you still having issues of converting those first-time patients into returning, long term patients to your medical practice? There are some things your medical practice could implement to help increase your patient retention rate for your business. They may seem simple, but you would be surprised how often medical practices miss these areas. Follow these tips below, and you might find it easier to keep your patient count high!

1. Send Patients A Reminder For Their Appointments

We all live busy lives, including patients. Not everyone is diligent in writing down their appointment or enter it into their phone when they make one before they leave to your clinic or hang up the phone. A missed appointment means missed revenue. A “missed appointment fee” may make a patient more responsible or make them search for another provider. Instead, implement an appointment reminder system that is HIPAA compliant. Studies have shown that these systems can decrease the “no-show” rate of your patients. It would be best to remind your patients a few weeks, days, and hours before their appointment. This reminder should include the time, address, and any additional instructions. Text-based reminders often work the best, but email reminders can also be used.

2. The Design Of Your Waiting Room

Hopefully, your patients will not spend too much time in your waiting room. However, their experience there can significantly impact their impressions of your medical practice. Your seats should be comfortable, roomy, and not show any wear or tear. Who will want to sit in a chair with stains, rips, or stuffing hanging out? Any trashcans in your waiting room should not be overflowing, even if you have to empty them more than once a day. There should also be no unpleasant smells in a waiting room. If possible, hire a professional cleaning crew to spruce up your waiting room at least once a week. 

If you see a lot of children at your clinic, ensure there are some things to keep them busy while the parents fill out paperwork. Some medical practices have two separate waiting rooms: One for patients who are there for routine checkups and another for those who are sick and need to be diagnosed for an illness. Many waiting rooms have TVs and a collection of magazines for people to look at while waiting. A waiting room is also an excellent place to put out marketing materials telling patients about the other services you have available. Finally, some waiting rooms have a screen showing the current wait times. This saves your front staff from answering the dreaded, “How much longer will it be?” question from impatient patients.

3. Making A Connection With Patients By Remembering Personal Details

In the movies, the town doctor has an incredible memory and knows everyone’s name. That might be easy if you have a very small patient base, but if you want to be successful, you will wish to have a large patient base, and it will be impossible to commit everything to memory. Instead, jot down a few notes and details into the patient’s record. Maintain HIPAA Compliance but write down a few things based on the conversation you had with them during their visit. Before seeing them again, review these notes and ask about something in their lives and follow up with them. For example, if they mention getting a new dog, ask how the dog is and if they have any pictures. These small things will build patient trust in a doctor and loyalty to the medical clinic.

4. Revise Your Office Hours

Are patients having trouble scheduling their appointments? Do you have significant gaps in the day when there are no appointments? It would help if you considered revising your office hours. If you are open only from 9 to 5 Monday through Friday, the chances are that it will make it difficult for many of your patients to see you. No, everyone can take a day off of work or a half a day off to be seen by a doctor. Consider having several nights during the week with later hours and some weekend hours during the month. If your medical clinic only has a single provider, this may result in odd hours. Instead of saying “Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm”, you may have “Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, 9 am to 5 pm, Wednesday and Thursday from 1 pm to 9 pm., and 9 am to 3 pm every other Saturday.”

5. Improve Online Experience (Website and Apps)

The attention span of people has been scientifically proven to be shrinking year after year. For every second, someone has to wait for your website to load a significant percentage have already clicked on the “back” button and are looking at the next search result. Website speed is crucial for patient retention, but it also plays a factor in organic rankings. At most, you have 3 to 5 seconds for your website to load. Some things to consider when reducing your website load speed:

• Large pictures
• Videos loading to play automatically from your website
• Website music
• Various tracking codes that must load up
• Other animations

Website load speed is even more of a factor on mobile sites. Your site needs to load quickly and correctly and be able to be accessed within seconds of a patient selecting it. A big mistake medical clinics make is assuming if a website was fast 12 to 18 months ago, it is just as fast today. Unfortunately, this might not be true. Updates to any apps or hosting services you use may slow down your website. You should audit your site’s load speed at least once every two years, if not sooner, to make sure your website is still loading quickly. If not, it is time to investigate and see what is dragging down your load time.

These tips can help you improve your patient retention and make your marketing budget even more useful. These little details can go a long way to making the patient experience at your medical clinic amazing, resulting in 5-star reviews and long-term patient loyalty!