Results from This Study Show How Practices Can Improve Patient Retention
Patient retention is an important part of any practice, but it’s especially important when you’re just starting out or attempting to grow. While there is a provider shortage, healthcare is still a competitive industry. Just like any other business owner, medical providers need to consider ways to attract and retain patients.
A recent study looked at factors that patients consider when choosing and switching from a healthcare provider. The study outlines four factors to consider to improve patient retention that you should consider for your practice.
It shouldn’t come as a shock that wait times are a major factor in patient retention. According to the study, even those patients who are overall pleased with their care, are dissatisfied with the amount of time they have to wait to see a doctor. That waiting includes time it takes to get an appointment, and time spent in the waiting room and exam room. Patients report spending 29 percent of their time in the exam room. That’s frustrating for a patient who has already waited long to receive an appointment and sat around in a stuffy waiting room.
Measure the wait time from the patient’s appointment time to the time they are seen, not the time they were brought into the exam room. Manage time better. When trying to grow your business, it can be tempting to schedule back-to-back appointments – but a poor retention rate won’t help your business grow. Keep patients happy by providing enough time between each visit. If you want to increase the volume of patients you see per day, consider using telemedicine technology to provide virtual visits.
People still care about bedside manner. According to the survey, almost a quarter of patients would consider switching doctors for one with a more positive attitude. Running a practice, and managing patient expectations while providing quality care is challenging. Those challenges can lead to stress, which can become apparent in patient visits.
Maintain a good work/life balance to better manage the stresses of the job. Living a rich life outside of the office will help you be a better doctor – or at the very least a happier one.
Your practice facility matters. Patients care about the cleanliness, design and comfort of your healthcare facility. This is especially true for women (78%). Medical practices with clean and modern facilities are perceived as more competent.
This patient retention factor isn’t as easily addressed. You may not be able to afford a more modern facility, better building or location. The newest medical technology may be too expensive for you to invest in. However, you can still improve the overall appearance of your practice despite your small budget. A few interior design changes to your waiting room can improve how patients perceive you and your medical practice.
Your practice location greatly impacts client retention. Seventy percent of those surveyed said that the convenience of the practice location was a critical factor in selecting a provider. The location of your facility will continue to be a factor in retention as more patients learn to use mobile apps and technology to access healthcare.
You may not be able to move your practice to a better location, but you can invest in telemedicine. Whether it’s buying software or using Skype, it’s time to consider ways to provide virtual care to your patients.