Value-based care models are helpful for protecting patients and providers from inflated expenses, but this paradigm shift has also changed payment and care delivery logistics. And as a result, patient volume has become an even greater consideration. Retaining or even attracting new business is critical for financial sustainability.
At the same time, however, patients are shifting expectations, and powered by tools like Zoc Doc, they are more likely to change providers. This creates a new challenge, especially for smaller hospitals and private practices. However, by honing in on the tenants driving patient choice, you can maintain current volume and also look for ways to attract new business.
1. Work with patients
As Harvard Business Review found, keeping patients happy extends beyond a single visit or episode. Visitors want to feel well-cared for and respected. Make this a point of emphasis and work with staff to decide the best means of achieving this goal. Foster relationships around responsibility, familiarity and support.
By focusing on patients’ experience and satisfaction with care, you can not only build a solid rapport but possibly attract new patients who are unhappy with their existing provider. As patient choice becomes a greater trend, being known as a welcoming and enjoyable healthcare option is essential.
2. Look for ways to make care more efficient
Beyond a personal relationship with their provider, convenience is also a chief concern for today’s patients. To meet this need, administrative tasks like scheduling and billing should be automated and online. A patient may not consciously make a note when it’s easy to quickly book an appointment, but they will certainly remember if they were put on hold over the phone or drove in to the doctors office only to be double-booked. Good customer service goes a long way toward improved satisfaction, and that starts with smooth scheduling.
3. Promote engagement
Some measures will have a more immediate and positive impact on patients. Friendly email reminders or even SMS text messages are some of the most simple patient engagement tools around and these can make a strong impression.
As CEO and Co-founder of ACT.md Ted Quinn told MedCity News, patients increasingly expect convenience and collaboration from their healthcare provider, especially as they exercise the new power of choice. Use online portals and EHRs to create a convenient but personal relationship.
4. Boost your marketing efforts
Automating certain processes and making care more enjoyable for visitors can encourage them to stay with your practice. Likewise, there’s a better chance they’ll recommend you to friends.
In an era of patient choice, many people will look online following a friend’s recommendation. Leverage free tools like social media or a blog on your organization’s website to give prospective new patients more information. Spending just a little bit of time on marketing can boost your digital fingerprint and help increase patient volume.
5. Make enrollment as easy as possible
Providers should prioritize EHR platforms and other systems that are interoperable and adaptive. This is crucial for a smooth integration process when welcoming new patients and handling an increased volume overall.
Overall, you want to support your current patients by making care enjoyable and easy. In turn, this can improve your standing with disgruntled people in other networks and create the possibility to increase your own patient volume.