Successful practices are constantly seeking new and innovative ways to get patients through their doors, often pursuing marketing strategies aimed at new customers. While attracting new patients should always have a place in a practice’s marketing plan, efforts to reactivate former patients are just as important—if not more so.  And yet, patient reactivation remains a weak spot for most of the healthcare industry with about 30 percent of practices using these strategies [1]https://www.practicebuilders.com/blog/patient-reactivation-strategies-tips-and-best-practices/ Below are five reasons why you should focus on patient reactivation:

Reactivating former patients is more cost-effective than marketing to new ones.

Patients who have previously been treated at your office are more likely to return, especially if they had a positive experience; therefore, they do not require an extensive marketing plan to get them back through your door. This means your practice does not have to waste valuable time prospecting for all new patients and building relationships with them when your inactive patients already know and trust you. According to Harvard Business Review, acquiring a new customer is anywhere from 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing or previous customer, depending on the industry [2]https://hbr.org/2014/10/the-value-of-keeping-the-right-customers. With these numbers in mind, it makes sense to shift some focus to patient reactivation and spend a little more time nurturing those inactive patient relationships to help boost your practice’s success in a cost-effective manner. 

Helps to fill your providers’ schedules.

Providers are always looking for ways to fill their schedules and yet patient reactivation is a method often overlooked. Patient reactivation does not only benefit the tenured providers at your practice but also those coming in. Say one of your providers retires and you hire another provider in his place. This situation poses two problems: How will you fill the new provider’s schedule and what will happen to the inactive patients associated with the retired provider? Patient reactivation fills these gaps in a cost-effective and timely manner that will not only take care of the new provider by filling her schedule, but also take care of the patients who are without a doctor and long overdue for treatment.  

Reaching out to overdue patients doesn’t have to be complicated. One of the easiest and most effective methods for reaching these patients would be through text. The message can be simple: notify they are overdue for treatment, inform on how to schedule and which providers offer treatment specific to their conditions. In a Brevium case study performed for an anonymous ophthalmology practice, they found that 96 appointments were scheduled for the M.D. and 254 appointments for the O.D. in four months using this patient reactivation strategy [3]https://www.brevium.com/2022/11/07/how-a-new-provider-filled-its-schedule-quickly/. Contacting overdue patients in ways that are easy to manage will prove incredibly effective for filling providers’ schedules and bringing more patients to your practice. 

You risk losing patients without reactivation strategies—and losing patients is costly.

Practices see hundreds of patients come through their doors each week to where if communication falls off with a patient, it’s likely they could go inactive. And when patients go inactive, it’s common to see practices write them off as lost and focus their time and effort elsewhere. However, successfully bringing in new customers won’t help practices if there isn’t enough focus on retaining patients or reactivating those due for treatment. 

Consider the patient’s worth when it comes to how much revenue they would bring to your practice. When these patients go inactive, you lose their business and you have to find other ways to make up for the lost revenue. According to Linchpin SEO, the average cost per new patient lead ranges from $36 to $286 with an average cost of $162 per lead in the healthcare industry—and leads don’t always guarantee appointments [4]https://linchpinseo.com/average-cost-per-lead-by-industry-and-marketing-channel/. Rather than spending loads of money trying to attract new patients to fill appointments, turn to the patients who’ve already treated with you and in turn, save your practice effort, time and money. 

More likely to get patients back into your office if they’ve treated with you before.

Patient reactivation presents a wonderful opportunity in that former patients have already treated with you and established trust with your practice. A Marketing Metrics study found that you have a 60 to 70 percent chance of selling again to your established customers, a 20 to 40 percent chance of reactivating a former customer and only a 5 to 20 percent chance of converting new leads into revenue for your practice [5]https://www.leadsquared.com/patient-reactivation-tips/. Likewise, reaching out to former or inactive patients will require less work from your team than targeting new patients while also providing better results for your practice. 

Patient reactivation benefits the patient just as much as the practice.

Patients often go inactive for a variety of reasons that are out of a practice’s control such as moving, insurance swaps and more. However, many patients go inactive because they are not aware they are due for treatment, they cancel appointments or maybe feel they do not need treatment at a specific time. Ultimately, implementing patient reactivation tactics means better care for your patients because it encourages them to be active participants in the healthcare process and improve their quality of life. Therefore, it’s critical to get overdue patients back in your office for preventative care and follow-up appointments to help them maintain a good quality of life moving forward. 

Another factor to consider in patient reactivation is compliance. Practices are obligated to reach out to patients who have a history of conditions that could lead to more severe illnesses, especially if there is treatment that could prevent or delay its onset. Failure to notify patients that they are due for treatment would not only be neglecting the provider-patient relationship but could also bring legal ramifications in more severe cases (9)