6 Retention Strategies in Healthcare to Build a Strong Patient Base

Published: September 22, 2022, Last Updated: April 18, 2024

Writer at Finturf.com
Writer: Martha Pierson
Editor at Finturf.com
Editor: Anais Osipova
Reviewer at Finturf.com
Reviewer: Michael Needham

One goal shared by every healthcare professional is helping their patients get better. However, there are roadblocks that keep this from happening. To help make sure your patients complete their healthcare journey and choose to return to your practice for future procedures, read on for our patient retention strategies.

Educate Your Clients

Doctor meeting with patient to educate them

Visiting a medical practitioner can be unsettling for many patients. Insurance, medical terminologies, invasive procedures, and chemical scents can cause patients to feel uneasy and stressed. As a result, medical practitioners should inform and educate their patients on the treatment, costs, and aftercare. Doing so will also allow your patients to view you as an expert within your field and a practitioner they can trust.

Another way to educate your patients is by posting informative health information on your website and social media platforms. Consequently, consider creating a blog on your website and educating your patients through engaging content. Additionally, it is equally important to educate yourself on the recent innovations and techniques in the healthcare industry to continue providing top-notch care.

Make Services Convenient and Personalized

With the rise of technological advancements, people tend to appreciate modern convenience, such as booking a healthcare appointment online. In addition, most patients tend to get frustrated quickly with complicated scheduling options. Consequently, consider setting up an online booking system or a digital patient engagement platform to improve your retention strategies. Furthermore, send appointment confirmations, reminders, and follow-ups as an added step to show your clients you are concerned with their wellbeing. These can be done through email, phone, or SMS.

In addition, it may be difficult for some patients to come into your practice during regular working hours. Consider having your office open early in the morning and later in the evenings to ensure convenience for your patients and accommodate their working schedules. You don’t necessarily have to work extended hours every day but consider doing so one or two days a week because it will make scheduling appointments much easier for some patients who can’t take time off from work. Lastly, opening your practice when competitors do not work will surely help your practice stand out and attract new patients too.

Another effective healthcare retention strategy is leveraging personalization. For example, consider sending your patients an email with a personalized discount or offering them a customized health plan. You can also come up with several deals and offers for loyal clients to ensure an effective patient retention strategy.

Encourage and Implement Patient Feedback

Close up on patient completing survey on laptop.

The best way to understand how your patients feel about your medical practice is by requesting their feedback. For example, you could ask them to fill out a patient satisfaction survey after their appointment to get the insight you need. Then, based on their responses, you can detect areas that need improvement in your practice and address them accordingly to retain more patients. In addition, you could ask your patients about additional services, what they liked and disliked, their experience with your staff, and everything in between.

Make sure to also include a section in your survey for suggestions to understand your patient’s needs. Then, let them know that you have implemented their idea. For example, a patient may suggest you offer online scheduling. When your patients feel that you value their views and opinions, it will help create a relationship based on trust. In turn, if your patients’ needs are being met, they are more likely to remain loyal clients.

Offer Financing Options

According to a recent study, 47% of U.S. adults cannot afford healthcare costs. Consequently, consider offering your patients financing options to help them get the necessary medical treatment without having to pay the total price upfront. You can either provide your patients with in-house financing or use third-party financing. For example, if you own a dental practice, you can offer dental financing for your patients to help them take care of expensive treatments such as dental implants.

Offering financing options also puts you one step ahead of your competitors. It attracts more clients who may not have been able to afford medical services without a monthly payment plan.

Measure Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Measuring KPIs is one of the most effective patient retention strategies. They are measurable values that allow you to evaluate your medical practice’s success through defined parameters. In addition, they are a great way to track your performance, assess business objectives, and detect areas that need improvement. Understanding the patient journey from the first point of contact to ongoing care can provide invaluable insights into optimizing these KPIs and enhancing overall patient satisfaction.

Here are the most common KPIs for retention in healthcare:

Response Time

Response time can be a KPI to measure your speed while responding to your patients’ phone calls or a query left on your website. Consequently, the number of minutes or hours between a patient’s question and your response can play a significant role in patient retention.

For example, if you are late to respond to a patient’s query, they may have already booked an appointment with another practitioner. That’s why you should train your staff to respond on time to retain patients who have shown interest in your institution.

Churn Rate

To calculate your churn rate, you must divide the number of churned patients during a specific period with the total number of patients multiplied by 100. For example, if your business had 500 patients at the start of the quarter and 450 at the end, you would divide 50 by 500, then multiply by 100 to determine your churn rate to be 10%. If your churn rate is more than 50%, then you are losing half of your patients over time.

The churn rate can be a result of many factors. Therefore, surveys can be a useful tool to determine the reason for the loss of clientele. To encourage more feedback, you can offer clients incentives, such as a discount, to participate in the survey.

Once you have adequate and thorough feedback from clients, you can determine the areas that need improvement. The churn rate can be reduced by implementing a number of changes, including better customer service, more transparency regarding pricing and services, or even discount and loyalty programs.

Train Your Team to Ensure a Positive Patient Experience

Doctor and receptionist conducting intake of patient

As simple as it may sound, ensuring a positive experience is the best way to retain patients and sets you apart from competitors. Consequently, you need to properly train your staff in client relations, such as improving their phone skills, being caring and kind towards patients while checking in or waiting to be seen, and treating them with dignity. In addition, you need to make sure that there is always someone available to take calls during work hours and to promptly respond to patient inquiries.

Sum Up

It takes a collaborative effort from the medical practitioners and the staff to create a positive experience for patients and ensure they keep visiting your practice. If treated well, a patient will likely return to you whenever they require your service again. If not, one disappointed patient can lead to several missed patients. Therefore, you must implement successful patient retention strategies, such as educating patients on their medical procedures, asking for their feedback, building a trusting connection, and offering financing options.

Martha Pierson

Content CreatorMartha Pierson is a marketing strategist and business development expert based in Glendale, California. As a content creator for the Finturf blog, Martha shares her vast knowledge and experience with readers to help them build and sustain successful businesses. Her articles offer practical tips and actionable advice that entrepreneurs can implement immediately to achieve their goals. Martha also provides insightful analysis of current trends across different industries and offers expert guidance on how businesses can adapt to changing market conditions.

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