Empower Your Practice

Journal for Practice Managers

9 Tips on How to Retain Patients (That Are Guaranteed to Work)

Medesk
February 1, 2022

how to retain patients

If you want your medical practice to thrive, it’s not enough to attract new patients to your clinic.

In fact, the secret to having a successful medical practice is knowing how to retain patients - after all, loyal patients are also more likely to recommend your healthcare facility to their family and friends.

For many clinics, however, patient retention can be quite a challenge.

Well, if you too struggle to retain patients, worry not!

In this article, we will share 9 foolproof tips that will help you improve your clinic’s performance, increase patient satisfaction, and, of course, ensure patient retention!

9 Patient Retention Tips

Without further ado, here are our 9 tips on how to retain patients:

#1. Set Patient Expectations

Patient satisfaction is vital to patient retention. Because of this, you should aim to set and meet patient expectations.

However, if you set very high expectations and promise your patients something that you can’t deliver, your patients will inevitably be disappointed.

Sure, stating that your steam treatment will make a sinus infection go away after a single session can attract tons of patients, but let’s be honest - if your patients leave your clinic with a stuffy nose, they won’t come back.

So, instead of overpromising, remember to be realistic - after all, it’s much better to exceed expectations than leave your patients disappointed.

This way, you can ensure that your patients will leave your healthcare facility satisfied and that they’ll be more likely to come back and recommend your healthcare services to their family and friends.

#2. Build Patient Trust

Another crucial component of retaining patients is making sure that they trust you.

Here are some ways you can build patient trust:

  • Meet your patients’ expectations. Your patients won’t trust you if you let them down, so it’s important to show them that you can deliver on your promises.
  • Build a well-designed website. Having a website that contains important information (e.g. your clinic’s contact details, services, reviews/testimonials, etc.) can show your current and potential patients that your practice is professional and trustworthy.
  • Improve your communication. Honest and clear communication helps your patients relax and trust your expertise, so make sure to communicate the whole treatment process to your patients and address any concerns they may have along the way.

#3. Limit Waiting Times

Although long waiting times have become the status quo in the healthcare industry, they can harm your medical practice.

In fact, studies show that 44% of patients miss their appointments because they feel disrespected and, for most of them, having to wait too long is a sign of disrespect from the healthcare provider.

Because of this, you should prioritize limiting waiting times and staying on schedule to retain patients.

Here’s how you can control patient waiting times to retain patients:

  • Notify your patients. Notifying your patients about expected waiting times prior to their visit will show that you value their time. Moreover, you can set up a board showing estimated waiting times in the waiting room to help your patients feel more comfortable.
  • Use practice management software. Using practice management software can help you to stay on schedule by increasing your medical practice’s performance and efficiency, which can effectively reduce patient waiting times.

#4. Improve In-Office Experience

Having a positive general experience in your clinic will help you retain your patients and make sure that they recommend your clinic to others.

So, consider improving your in-office experience by:

  • Providing excellent customer service. To ensure a great patient experience, it’s important that all of your staff members - from the front-desk receptionists to medical professionals - treat your patients with care and respect.
  • Improving your waiting room. First impressions matter, so make sure your waiting room is cozy and comfortable. This way, your patients can feel more relaxed waiting for their appointment.
  • Being attentive to each patient. Trying to remember personal details about each patient can be difficult, yet it’s an effective way to show your patients that you care about them. For this reason, keeping your consultation notes organized and easily accessible from your EHR software can help you to be more attentive to your patients (e.g. if a patient mentioned they have a child, you can note it down in your EHR system and ask them how they’re doing the next time they visit your clinic). Alternatively, you can also provide personal discounts or offers to make your patients feel special and heard.

#5. Track Your Healthcare KPIs

Tracking and monitoring your healthcare metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is the key to your clinic’s success.

That’s because healthcare KPIs and metrics can give you valuable information such as showing you how you can improve your performance and improve the patient experience.

Here are some of the most important healthcare KPIs for patient retention:

  • Patient wait duration. This healthcare metric shows how long patients have to wait before seeing their healthcare provider. As such, making sure that this metric stays low can increase patient satisfaction.
  • Emergency room wait time. Essentially, this healthcare KPI provides the same information as the patient wait duration metric, except it’s specifically focused on emergency rooms.
  • The number of patients leaving before seeing the healthcare provider. This healthcare metric should be tracked alongside other metrics, such as patient wait duration, to help identify issues that affect your clinic’s efficiency and performance.
  • Cancellation rate. This is a useful healthcare KPI that can help you manage patient satisfaction as well as increase patient retention.
  • Patient satisfaction. As we mentioned above, patient satisfaction is directly linked to patient retention, so ensuring this healthcare KPI stays high is key to patient retention.

#6. Make Appointment Booking More Convenient

Research shows that scheduling-related issues, such as appointments scheduled at an inconvenient time for the patient, can result in patients missing their appointments.

For this exact reason, it’s important that your patients have the option to book appointments at a time that suits them the best.

It’s even better when your patients can book their appointments on their own - and this is where using practice management software comes in handy.

Basically, any practice management solution that comes with an online booking feature allows your patients to easily book their appointments based on their schedule in a single click, which in turn helps your practice to retain patients.

#7. Send Appointment Reminders

30% of patients miss their doctor’s appointments because they forget to attend or cancel their visit, which is why reminding your patients of their upcoming visits is guaranteed to increase patient retention.

By using practice management software, for example, you can send your patients automated appointment reminders via SMS or email.

This way, you can be sure that your patients, as busy as they are, never forget to come to your appointment. By reducing no-show rates, you are also guaranteed to increase patient retention.

#8. Take Advantage of Medical Staff Training

Medical staff training can help to increase your clinic’s performance and make your practice more efficient, which improves patient experience and patient satisfaction.

If you aim to retain patients, your best option is to focus your medical staff training on customer service, which includes:

  • Communication training. Training your medical staff on how to communicate clearly and effectively with your patients can help to build patient trust and increase patient satisfaction.
  • Soft skills training. Training in areas such as compassion and active listening can help your patients to feel more appreciated and understood, which helps to improve patient care and boost patient satisfaction.
  • Patient engagement training. Patient engagement training is directly connected to patient retention as it teaches your staff how to motivate your patients to fully complete their treatment.

#9. Pay Attention To Feedback

Listening to your patients’ comments, complaints, opinions, and suggestions is vital to patient retention.

Because of this, you may want to provide your patients with surveys focused on their experience in your clinic or, alternatively, ask them to leave reviews for your clinic.

Either way, showing your patients that their opinion matters will make them feel valued, which helps to increase patient trust and satisfaction.

Moreover, by collecting feedback, you can get valuable information that can help you see which areas of your practice are working well for your patients and which of them need improvement.

Of course, it is not enough to just listen to what your patients have to say - it’s important that you also implement changes based on your patients’ to effectively improve your practice, increase patient satisfaction, and, in turn, improve patient retention.

Use Practice Management Software

Increasing patient retention is much easier with practice management software.

Not sure which practice management software you should use for your clinic?

Try Medesk!

problems in physical therapy - Practice Management Software

Here’s how Medesk integrated practice management software can increase your clinic’s patient retention:

  • Medical customer relationship management (CRM) system can help you collect valuable feedback, reduce cancellations and no-shows, improve patient experience, as well as increase patient satisfaction.
  • Online booking tool makes booking appointments a breeze - simply link it on your website or social media to allow your patients to book appointments at a click of a button.
  • Medesk’s scheduling tool lets you send automated appointment reminders to your patients as well as inform them about any scheduling changes via SMS.
  • Electronic health records allow you to save valuable time by digitizing your paperwork, so you can stay on schedule and spend more time on your patients.
  • Reports and analytics tool lets you conveniently track your healthcare KPIs and metrics to improve your clinic’s performance and increase patient satisfaction.

And much more!

If you want to test Medesk’s practice management software for your practice, try our free trial now!

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