Healthcare has never been more competitive than it is today. The rise of healthcare consumerism has completely changed the game. Modern consumers have higher expectations in terms of the cost, quality, and type of care they receive. They’re also more willing than ever before to switch providers in pursuit of a better care experience when those expectations aren’t being met.
With 82 percent of patients saying they would find a new provider as a result of a poor experience, finding ways to engage and retain them clearly needs to be a top priority for healthcare organizations. Retention of current patients is one of the most effective ways to keep your practice growing in the right direction—but how can you remain competitive and keep patients from looking elsewhere?
Here are six patient engagement strategies that all healthcare practices should be using to keep their current patients happy, engaged, and coming back:
1. Providing Simple, Mobile-Friendly Access to Healthcare Tools
Patients today both want and expect healthcare practices to have digital capabilities. In fact, one in five of consumers said they would switch providers due to a poor digital experience.
Healthcare practices can increase engagement (and ultimately retention) by offering patients convenient, mobile-friendly access to a variety of healthcare tools. For example, patients are more likely to choose a provider with a patient portal that allows them to do the following online:
- Book and change appointments
- Request prescription refills
- Fill out registration and intake forms
- Communicate with providers and staff
- View visit summaries and lab results
- Pay bills with flexible financial options
- Offer virtual care (telehealth) visits
2. Ensuring Communication and Reminders Across Preferred Channels
The patient journey shouldn’t begin and end with the office visit. To truly engage patients and keep them coming back, your practice needs to ensure proactive communication and reminders across preferred contact methods. By communicating with patients via the mode they like best, you can engage them in between visits and make yourself available to answer any questions that come up regarding their care. Text, phone, or email reminders also help keep patients on track and decrease the number of appointment no-shows.
3. Offering Non-Traditional Healthcare Experiences Via Telehealth
An increasing number of healthcare consumers are embracing virtual care and other non-traditional care delivery models—especially amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, which sparked the rapid acceleration and adoption of telehealth. Throughout the course of 2020, telehealth has proven to be an optimal alternative to in-person care, limiting exposure and also offering a relatively inexpensive option for patients who are concerned about rising healthcare costs.
4. Sending Patient Surveys to Prompt Feedback and Make Improvements
Another effective patient engagement strategy to help you increase retention is delivery of targeted surveys to measure satisfaction and capture patient-reported outcomes (PROs). Collecting this type of feedback will provide insight into how patients are feeling about their care experience and pinpoint opportunities to make practice and quality improvements. Additionally, encouraging patient feedback will help you offer more personalized care targeted to individual needs.
5. Engaging Your Patients in Shared Decision-Making
Today’s healthcare consumers want to take a more active role in their own care. One of the best patient engagement strategies for increasing retention is to give them a voice by embracing shared decision-making. Research shows that shared decision-making between the patient and provider has a direct impact on PROs, quality, and healthcare utilization. By partnering with patients to make health-related decisions, you can improve everything from patient-reported outcomes to retention and satisfaction.
Increasing Retention with Orchestrated Patient Engagement
The best way to retain your patients and grow your practice is to engage them before, during, and after appointments. By consistently reaching out to patients with orchestrated patient engagement, you can stay connected to them between visits and guide them on their journey to better health and well-being.
These patient engagement strategies will help you build trust and the foundation for a stronger patient-provider relationship, ultimately increasing consumer satisfaction, improving health outcomes, and ensuring patients come back, time and time again.