Attracting and retaining patients are two quite specific yet different challenges a clinic faces. It’s probably one of the questions most frequently asked and a topic which I have spoken on at conferences many times, here’s a little plug for my next one COPA 2016 Wednesday 15th June @ 16.15: Big data in you clinic. Thousands can be spent on glossy marketing only for you to realise that the old fashioned word of mouth, whilst it may be slow, is still considered the best way … and it’s free.
That’s all very well but what about your future clients? The ones that are 15 years old now or younger… how do you think they will hear about you? A family association with your clinic and for that matter an established family based practice should help, but these days it might be wise to have a social media plan in place or at least consider how you will be attracting the ‘patients of the future’.
1. Customer service:
Call me old fashioned but customer service surely has to be the number one way to attract new patients? There are so many bad examples out there I think it’s easier to do a good job the once than to offer mediocre or poor service. This includes the whole patient journey from initial contact (phone, email, website), to the moment they commit to treatment. Unanswered phones? Not good. Out of date webpage and blogs? Not good. Messages not taken or forwarded correctly. Not good. That’s all before you consider your clinical skills! Each single part of this feeds directly into the word of mouth referrals which we all want more of. Simple but effective way of attracting and retaining patients.
Have you heard of pronto? Well, the pronto network gives your practice the same footing and scale as much larger clinics and things are beginning to hot up on the BUPA self-referral network with new patient referrals coming direct from the insurance company to clients without any advertising! There’s even a Pronto support team to help get you set up. It’s a no brainer.
3. Private Practice Software:
I have always been surprised how interested some patients can be in the way clinics are ran. What I mean is that there can be the perception that a modern clinic ran with modern software delivers modern services which assist in patient recovery. You only have to look at the private hospital sector to see this in action. However, these benefits go beyond the cosmetic and enter into the way a patient accesses your services, books appointments and much much more. Essentially they help smooth the journey from injury to recovery whilst directing and managing your patients for you.
4. SMS and Email Reminders:
A great way to retain patients is for them not to move away in the first place. Often the chain can be broken by cancellations or DNA’s which may or may not be chased up. The thing to remember is that no one wins with these scenarios, practitioners don’t practice and patients don’t get better and then tell their friends how great you are. The simple answer is to send reminders preferably SMS as they don’t tend to sit in an email address junk box and also we have found that they can reduce these incidents by up to 90%!
5. Clinical Reports:
Following on from the reminders section there are cancellation reports which enable you to track the reasons given for cancellations and also if a patient has re-booked or not. This is valuable information for your practice … use it!
If you are currently using clinical notes did you know that you can run a Patients due for review report? Well, you can, as long as you are using cases correctly in the system and are setting the review date at discharge. This is one great way of tracking a patient so that you don’t lose them once they have left your care. It improves patient contact and management all at your fingertips. If you are not sure about touch clinical notes sign up for our webinars or search the 2gether knowledge base for recordings and more information.
Some other reports which help with the retention of patients are the patient recall list (case specific) and current case load. These allow you to manage cases that may have drifted perhaps when a patient or practitioner goes on holiday.
There’s so much more to write about but I hope this gives you a little taster. Why not get involved in the 2gether community where we can discuss all these topics in more detail or drop me an email at Jeremy.Allen@blue-zinc.com