Everyone has had a rough past few years, including the healthcare industry. Independent practices have experienced declining patient volume, staffing shortages, and even layoffs. Many patients also chose to miss or skip appointments in 2020 due to COVID-19, which put their health concerns on hold. One of the biggest changes to come out of these last few years is that consumers are now relying more on digital conveniences to avoid human contact. In the healthcare industry, this has been shown with the widespread use of telehealth medical appointments.
These changes have caused patients to reevaluate whether their healthcare provider really meets all of their needs. To thrive in today’s healthcare landscape, private practices must deliver a top-notch accessible patient experience.
Common Mistakes that Lead to Patient Dissatisfaction
While taking the right steps to improve your practice and patient experience is important, it is equally as important to avoid common mistakes that can lead to patient dissatisfaction. Here are four common mistakes you should avoid to maintain patient loyalty.
Not keeping Patients Engaged
Keeping your patients engaged between appointments is important to ensure that they are following your plan of care to keep up with their health. This can be achieved by sending out well-timed email campaigns to improve patient outcomes, strengthen the patient-provider relationship, and improve loyalty. In these email campaigns, you can include reminders for patients to schedule their next appointment, highlight any newly offered services or new providers, and send seasonal health-related info such as tips to manage allergies, the availability of vaccines, and more.
Continuing with Old Habits that are no longer Effective
Healthcare is unfortunately known for its notoriously slow adoption of technology, which can cause frustration for today’s consumers. With people used to modern conveniences across other industries, they now want the same with their healthcare providers. Employing technologies such as text messaging and online access for scheduling, filling out paperwork, accessing health records, paying a bill, or asking their provider a question can save your practice time and resources while boosting patient satisfaction.
Not Listening to Patients
Patients want a provider that will listen to them. Providers who take the time to really listen to their patients and offer prompt responses to questions have better patient retention rates and higher patient satisfaction. An easy way to give a clear signal that you are listening is to end each appointment with a wrap-up question such as “Have I answered all of your questions today?” Another way to let patients know you are prioritizing their needs and communication is to implement automated patient satisfaction surveys for ongoing feedback.
Neglecting To Book Your Patient’s Next Appointment at Check-Out
Booking your patient’s next appointment at check-out is a way to secure patient volume, as well as make the patient’s job easier by not having to call back to book. By streamlining this entire process, the patient will be happier, and your practice will run smoothly. Ensure that your providers indicate when the patient’s next appointment is on their check-out paperwork. Also, send out an automated appointment reminder via email or text to help keep patients up to date with when they need to be seen.
Reduce Your Patient Attrition Today
If you are ready to make the necessary changes to improve patient communication, loyalty, and satisfaction, our experts at DLM can help. We offer a number of reporting and retention services to help you keep the lines of communication open with patients, as well as to measure your overall performance. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.