Implementing a Patient Retention Strategy
3.28.2019 By Ben Buchanan, Director of Relationship Management, TSYS Health Division
In a recent webinar, we discussed the importance of patient satisfaction and how it can impact the revenue of your practice. Understanding patient satisfaction is valuable for providers who want their patients to keep coming back. Here’s how practitioners can keep retention high and ultimately grow their practice.
Before getting started, the first thing to remember is that your established patient base isn’t permanent. There are controllable and uncontrollable reasons why patients leave a practitioner. Uncontrollable factors, such as moving or changing insurance, are just that–out of your control. But what about the factors that you can control? From my experience, the top controllable reasons patients leave a practice include:
- Feeling neglected or left out
- Perceiving a lack of concern
- Receiving poor communication and misinformation
- Feeling rushed
- Finding a lack of description for tests and procedures
- Dealing with pricing or billing issues
Patient Attrition Rate
The goal for every practice is high patient retention and low attrition. Understanding the rate of attrition is an opportunity to get ahead of losing patients rather than just accepting it. To learn your attrition rate, calculate how many patients you’re losing each year and compare that number to your active base. Once you’ve uncovered your attrition rate percentage, estimate what that represents in lost revenue. Is it a significant number? Don’t worry, it usually is.
Implement a Patient Retention Strategy
Now that I’ve explained how to calculate your patient attrition rate, it’s time to understand how you can improve it. Acquiring a new customer is anywhere from 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. Your patients will keep coming back unless you give them a reason not to! You shouldn’t be spending your time and resources finding new patients. Instead, you should be keeping the ones you already have happy by focusing on the customer experience. Implement a patient retention strategy that follows these two core initiatives.
#1 Retaining Existing Patients.
- Build a community with helpful content, while listening to and engaging with them.
- Create engaging marketing content to remain relevant.
- Be receptive to their requests.
- Offer convenient, flexible payment arrangements.
#2 Getting Back Lost Patients.
- Reach out to them and find out why they left. This information is extremely valuable.
- Reach out to remind them to make another appointment.
- Incentivize their return with promotional specialty services, free informational development, or preventative advice.*
* Providers and their employers are responsible for ensuring that all discount programs and incentives comply with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations, and all provider-payer contractual arrangements.